One of the gifts of going through challenging circumstances – ones that sometimes feel like we’re falling down a deep, dark hole – is to discover what we’re made of. How do we react or respond in those situations? Do we come from fear or do we meet the situation with wonder and curiosity and resolve?
As I drove my large SUV down the highway one evening recently, a weird noise started coming from the front part of the vehicle. At first I was curious. I didn’t go into panic mode until it sounded like something was falling out in bits from the engine and bouncing away under the vehicle. A roadside inspection revealed nothing – no leaks, no obvious broken parts, no damage to the truck. Yet each time I pulled back onto the highway, there was a new alertness in my being, waiting for the sound. It did not disappoint my expectations.
Fortunately, I was able to make it home safely that evening and get the SUV to the mechanic’s shop the next morning. Apparently whatever has gone wrong is deep within the mechanisms of its driving functions. It’s fixable, of course. It will just take time, money, and someone else’s expertise to make this right.
While I wait for the quote on what the repairs will cost, I’m grateful. Grateful this situation didn’t happen just a few days earlier when I was traveling across the country and on some rather remote roads, with no cell coverage. Grateful it took place at a time when traffic patterns were light and easy – not during rush hour nor while on the way to some important engagement. Grateful our family includes an auto mechanic who is willing to help diagnose the problem on a holiday evening and be a liaison for us through the repair process. Grateful that, while I’m not particularly fond of paying for large (or small) vehicle repair bills, at least I have the resources to do so if needed. Grateful that my trip down the fearful rabbit hole was quite shallow this time. Grateful I can surrender the situation and know there is a higher purpose at work here.
I’m discovering how much easier life is when I accept the “what is” of any holey situation (pun intended). It doesn’t matter if it’s a broken vehicle, an injured relationship, or a resistant attitude. There’s no need to label the situation positive or negative. There is so much of life we have no control over or even influence about, except for how we will respond (react) to it. Sometimes surrender is the only wise option.
In those situations where we do have control or influence, I endeavor to make my choices from a place of strength, courage, peace, and love. We always have the choice to detach any emotional response from what we’re facing and see it for the cosmic experience it is – an opportunity to grow. How difficult the experience becomes is up to us. Suffering is optional.
As I become more successful at staying near the surface of life’s holes, I’ve noticed that they are definitely not as deep nor as scary as they used to be. Some are even totally avoidable unless curiosity takes over. Others are just a passing shadow and warrant only a smile and a wave good-bye…just in time for the arrival of the next growth experience.