Ironically, I made time for myself to read for a little while yesterday – following my own advice from the previous post – and what I ended up reading related exactly to the “out of control circumstances” that I referred to the day before. This is a long passage from Nicholas Sparks’ Three Weeks with My Brother, but I wanted to share it with all of you.
“I like to think of life in terms of a stream, rapids, and waterfall. There are periods in everyone’s life when things just seem to float along. You’re in your canoe, paddling leisurely, enjoying the view. One day flows into the next, everything gets done, and somehow there’s still time to relax. Then, ever so slowly, the stream starts to move faster; it’s still possible to manage everything, but it takes a little more effort. Next come the rapids, and all of a sudden, everything is more challenging. Maybe there’s a new project at work, maybe someone in the family gets sick, maybe you move or get laid off. Whatever the reason, you spend those periods steering the canoe, struggling to stay afloat. You wake up in the mornings feeling you’re already behind, and each day becomes a frantic race against the clock in order to get everything done. And then the rapids begin to roil even faster, and you go right along with them. You “have to,” you “need to,” you “have no other choice.” You go, go, go. And in the distance, you hear the roar of the waterfall, and you convince yourself that your only option is to paddle even harder. You’ve got to steer through those rapids and somehow get to safety. Otherwise, the waterfall’s going to take you.”
I put the next to last line in bold because I thought it was really important that he doesn’t say that though there are circumstances beyond our control (sick family members or being out of work) and we may feel like our lives are chaotic, we can still steer ourselves through and get to a safer and calmer place.