Lessons learned in hard times

So I mentioned a couple of days ago that my mother attempted suicide. That was an interesting experience; however, the thing I learned most about the entire event wasn’t how awful the situation is, but instead how these episodes of  life have ultimately shaped me into the person I am today.

On some level the bad days really make you appreciate the good ones.  They humble you and make you appreciative of everything you have.  The good friends, a good wife, all successes, all securities, and even a great group of blog followers who are supporting you the whole way.

Conquering Adversity

I’ve been thinking about my life a lot lately – especially since the incident that happened earlier this week with my mom.  What a duality my life has been.  I remember wrestling for the state championship in high school, being accepted into college, graduating college, getting married, landing my dream job, and a gigantic list of awesome and incredible highs in my life – wow I’m a lucky guy.

On the other hand I remember all of the completely insane things I’ve had to deal with too.  I remember when I was about 9 and my parents would go out and ask for “donations” at local grocery and retail stores for our “youth group” – but pocket the money instead.  I remember seeing all the drugs and alcohol.  I remember my parents arguing and going to my room and praying to God that it would be better one day.  I remember saying to myself when I was a kid “I wonder where I’ll be in five years” and pretending I would be in some awesome place achieving great things – that was my mental hiding spot.

Yeah – I had all of those trials, but what if I hadn’t?  Would I have the drive and will to succeed and conquer adversity today?  Would I be unphased by adversity like I am now?  Would I be as strong or as mature?  I doubt it – and THAT I am thankful for.

Who I am Today

Make no mistake.  We are who we are as a result of each and every experience in our life.  If you frame it appropriately even the worst experience can be an amazing opportunity for self improvement.

When I was driving home Tuesday, thinking about my Mom, a women almost ran me off the road.  She was honking, obviously cussing me out.  Normally, I imagine I would have became angry myself – but not that day.  I took a breathe and told myself “look at what I’m going through right now.  I can only imagine what’s going on in her life too.”  I couldn’t get angry because I realized an ounce of understanding goes a long way.

Maybe that’s the lesson I needed.  To feel a little empathy – something I have admitted in the past that I had very little of at times.  I will never make an excuse for a person’s poor behavior, but at a minimum I can learn to show a little understanding.  Every person’s life is effected by so many variables that it is nearly impossible for us to understand why a person is they way they are.  So instead of getting angry maybe we can just learn to understand that we can’t understand – and accept it.

Thank you

Before I end I just wanted to say thanks to anyone who gave their support to me the other day and those who continue to give me their support.  It means  a lot that a few people that you barely know out there on the internet were nice enough to share a few kind words, prayers, and thoughts.  It is much appreciated.

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6 thoughts on “Lessons learned in hard times

  1. jon

    That’s a beautiful perspective. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all this – but as you say, it all gets integrated into who you are – your ‘self’ gets bigger, your perspective wider. As difficult as it must be emotionally at times, the way you’re dealing with all of it sounds great.

    Reply
  2. Rattlesnake

    My life hasn’t been nearly as rough as yours appears to have been, but I’m glad that I have had some adversity because I agree it ends up improving you in some way, if you allow it to. Having said that, I am very fortunate to have a supportive family and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is unfortunate what you have had to go through, but you seem to have made a good life for yourself. You are inspiring, so thank you, and I wish you well.

    Reply
  3. Atticus Finch

    Thanks everyone. I count myself lucky that this is all I’ve had to deal with – many people have it much worse and have far fewer opportunities. Thanks for the support/comments.

    Reply
  4. jon

    Atticus, I’ve thought about your situation a lot in the past few days, trying to imagine myself in the situation. The main thing, I think, is that whether or not you extend yourself for these two people (I say “these two people” on purpose), the main thing is not to let the fact that it’s your parents in this situation make you feel bad about who you are. You aren’t them (obviously) – and they aren’t any reflection of you. (This is all obvious – but I mention it because I think if I were in the situation, I’d want to be reminded of this obvious fact). The fact that THEY’RE the parents and you’re the son easily gets mixed up in this type of situation – since you get called upon to ‘parent’ your Mom. It’s not your job to parent your parents.

    Reply
    1. Atticus Finch

      Thanks Jon. It is nice to be reminded this isn’t “me”. I’ve been doing some serious thinking over the last few days – in combination with visiting my Mom in the hospital and came to a few conclusions based on my own goals and my Mother’s behavior. I’m in the process of writing about that it more detail now.

      Anyways – it has really been incredible to me the amount of support I’ve received. I think a lot of people have been in a similar situation as mine or at least can relate. That’s probably been the biggest surprise so far – and a very good one.

      Reply

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