"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The (Wo)man in the Mirror


I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and make a change. ~Michael Jackson

I like to be able to fix things.  I think most of us, especially as parents, just want to be able to fix anything that may be amiss.  I feel fortunate right now in that my own life, and family, is currently in its groove (and that of course, is not always the case) But as I look around me - at the friend that's going through a difficult time with a child, another with a spouse, countless more with their families, their jobs, their lives - that instinct is still there, even from the outside:   Okay, how do I fix this?  What can I do?

And the answer, of course, is that I can't fix everything.  And more often than not, there is nothing that really can be done, at least not externally. 

I can't change other people.  Not my husband, not my kids, not my friends, not the people I meet on the street.  But I can change myself.

I can't change what others say, how they feel, or what they do.   But I can decide how I respond.  I can choose how it does or does not affect me.

I can't change the fact that sometimes there will be bad days, and that sometimes there will be very bad days.  But I can control how I handle it.  I can control whether it breaks me or makes me stronger. 

I can't change all the injustices in the world.  I can't change the hate, the prejudice, the mean people.  But I can change my heart.  I can examine my attitudes.  I can choose how I treat others. I can choose to be kind, to be loving, to be generous.

I can't change the necessity of things like laundry, or dishes, or car repairs.  But I can change the spirit with which I deal with them.  I can choose to do them joyfully, or begrudgingly.

I can't change the bumps, the growing pains, or the inevitable detours that come my or my family's way.  But I can take responsibility for my feelings, for my actions, for my words.   I can decide that instead of blaming everything and everyone around me, I can practice grace, humility, and patience.  I can decide to be thankful, even in the midst of chaos, and I can decide to accept what is.... to have "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."



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