Recently I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the beach, toes dug in the sand, warm water lapping, taking an easy stroll, pondering the intricacies of life with a dear loved one, and watching the sky pulse with beauty as the sun set. Ahhhh. Packing up that splendor along with the tiniest seashell and our mountain of make-the-moment-perfect stuff, we headed to my car.
Locked. Hmmm. Key? Arrgghh! Can you feel the peace begin to leak out of me? Yes, getting into my car should have been a relatively easy task, however on this particular occasion my hands were overflowing with stuff, as was the pocketbook I was digging through to find the keys. And someone was with me, hands equally full, waiting to lay down her burden in that still locked trunk. Oh, the pressure. Somewhere in the digging I called out, “I can’t find the keys.” Defeat.
In just a blink I was reminded of the power of words and immediately corrected the statement to, “Well, I haven’t found them yet, but they’re in here.” And just as quickly my attitude toward the situation changed. I went from the path to dismal frustration to the journey of committed perseverance. I knew the keys were in there and, like a veil lifting, I realized the factors that were interfering with my success were temporary. I knew that the stuff I was carrying were obstacles preventing me from finding them but those could be put down. I recognized the pressure that someone else was struggling because of me could be shifted to the comfort of having someone willing to be in the struggle with me (fortunately this was a grown up with power of choice not my 2-year-old grandson needing a nap or a potty :)). My perception readjusted, my attitude quickly followed, and my outcome had no choice but to join the party. I headed home with the key in the ignition, the sea shell in my pocket, and the sunset in my rearview mirror.
“Can’t” is a statement of defeat, a permanent end. By definition it means “not able to”,” not knowing how to”, “not capable of” . . . what a lie. In just a breath I realized how many of us every day turn temporary setbacks into permanent failure by pledging to the flag of “I can’t”. Well, I’m here to remind you, YOU CAN! Ditch the stuff you are carrying, grab hold of the friend who is willing to share both the sunsets and the struggles, and find the key. It’s in there!
Pay attention this week to how often and how quickly you give up. When you hear yourself using “the C word” in situations where you could be soaring, immediately restate the situation. Remember, the setback is only temporary so make your words reflect that. Replace it with a powerful, “I am!, I can! I will!”
by Sonya O. Boyne, A Season of Comfort