“I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I’d just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.” (Jack Handy)
Funny, but when my love affair (called my 20-year marriage) ended, I didn’t have the luxury of quitting my job and becoming a bum. In the midst of life loss, divorce and everything else, I had to GET A JOB as well. Believe me, I wanted to lay down and die on more than one occasion, but I couldn’t. I had four children to provide for.
Not only did I have four children to feed, I had to set an example for them. I had to show them what to do when adversity strikes. Because hard times come to everyone, and it isn’t so much what happens to you, but what you do with it that counts. Quitting isn’t an option. (Even my five-year-old knows that. He runs around the house, cape flying behind him, chanting, “Never give up! Never surrender!” from, I’m told, the movie, “Galaxy Quest.” Pretty motivating if you think about it.)
I, personally, couldn’t give up because I had been raised to carry on no matter what. And then in approximately 1997, I had read a story about a pioneer woman and her husband traveling across the plains to Utah with a handcart that inspired me. Their trek was intense: long days, no comforts, no food, no shoes, just hardship; a complete and physical nightmare. The husband reached his breaking point. He lay down on the ground, told his wife he couldn’t go any further and he quit–prepared to die. But the wife didn’t quit. She didn’t even leave her husband. She put him in the handcart and she pulled him to Utah.
I hoped I would be like that woman. Although I lived in a different day and age and my hardships were different, I determined then and there to be a woman like that. I just never imagined I’d get my chance to prove it.
After all, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” (Winston Churchill) So that’s what I’ve done since my unexpected life began.
And at some point, you’ll look around and realize the scenery has changed. Your unexpected life may not be heaven (yet); it may not have metamorphosed into your paradise. But things will have improved just the same. All because you kept going. In your unexpected life.