Saturday, June 21, 2008

Expecting Gold

I was reading through some old posts and I realized just how much I refer to life being about the silver lining. That's not just some sort of "Pollyanna-ish" way to look at life for me. There is a quote on the wall in my alcove by Maurice Setter that says "Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold." I love that quote not because of the optimistic silver lining, but because of its focus on the expectation of something better.


I think our expectations of what we want life to be often overshadow the good things that are already in front of us... and that's when we miss the silver lining. When my sister was going through a divorce, we were on the phone talking about hard decisions and out of my mouth came these words that I would later cling to for myself as well... "All God asks of us is to live the best life we can with what we are given." The point is, we are all given different blessings and different crosses to bear, which means we can only take care of what's in front of us in that moment and do the best we can.

I don't know if it brought any relief to my sister, but as my life changed over the years it proved to be something I needed to hear. I needed to remind myself that my old gifts were gone, and they didn't serve me in living my best life anymore. I had new gifts and crosses given to me, and I had to rethink how to live my life with them. It took awhile to find my new normal, and that continues to change on a daily basis. But when my focus is on living the best life I can with what I have in that moment, I always find my silver lining. I'm not expecting the gold I used to have. I'm not looking for the gold that I think I should have. I'm looking at the silver right in front of me and saying thank you every day.

And I know I can't just apply this to my own life... I have to apply it to the people in my life as well. If I am really allowing the people around me to live the best life they can with what they are given, I can't put my own conditions on them. Some people have been given more of a capacity for compassion, some for actions, some for being loving. I have to trust that people are doing the best they can, so instead of expecting gold from every person in every situation I can be thankful for the silver lining they inevitably bring to my life in other ways.

Same applies to my body and my health. I am always prefacing any plans I make with the stipulation that I won't know until the day of if any of it will happen. Heck, I really won't know until the minute of. Back when I was able to get out and about, my friend Meg had picked me up one night to go watch Susie's husband Mark play in his band. I knew before we left that my day hadn't gone smoothly, but I was sure I could push through the pain and go with them. I got in her car, and during the very short ride to Main Street the shooting pains in my leg had me shifting around trying to find a comfortable way to sit. We got to the bar, I got out of the car and took about three steps on my crutches - and I was stuck. I couldn't stand up straight, couldn't walk to the bar, couldn't walk back to the car. [Yes, it was as embarrassing as you are imagining.] Susie and her brother Steve helped me to the car and Meg drove me straight back home.

I was hoping for gold, but I wasn't expecting it. Deep down I knew there was a huge chance the night wasn't going to play out as I had hoped... but I didn't miss the silver linings. Steve and Susie were there to help me into the car. Meg wasn't worried about missing the first set and instead made sure I got home ok. And here's the biggest silver lining of them all: all of those people would try again with me any time. Really, how can I be anything less than grateful for that?

Now, let me just say that sometimes disappointment weighs heavy on me. But in my disappointment, the same rules still apply... I do the best I can with what I have. Is it usually all I want to do? No. But in the end, focusing on the silver lining is what gets me through the day.

I really think, in this life, we find what we are meant to do when we stop focusing on what we are kept from doing. I have to remind myself of that sometimes, but the more I acknowledge that silver lining, the less I notice the gold that's out of reach.

So tell me, what silver linings have blessed you today?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Sara! Your words ring true! God is good and He is ever and always at work in our lives. My Mom says I tend to look at life through "rose colored glasses" and she's not meaning it as a compliment when she says it. Thanks for the reminder of our need to focus on the good around us in the lives of those we are connected with and in the circumstances in which we live. Praying for you today!

    Sue in Tennessee