Life is a journey, not a destination. It has its share of ups and downs no matter who we are. Some experiences bring us joy. Others bring sorrow, and others at times leave us wondering what can be the lesson in all of this? As a child I remember my parents trying to make the most mundane tasks “fun.” Doing the dishes, cleaning a very messy room, studying for tests or practicing the piano could be “fun” if you had the right mindset I was assured. Sometimes I bought into what they were saying, yet other times I was not so convinced.
This week in my second grade class we were doing math patterning centers. I worked hard to set up engaging activities where the kids could “show what they know” in a hands on, creative way. The students were on task and thoroughly enjoyed rotating through the various centers. All finished products of the centers were great assessment pieces for me and it was cool because as they thought they were just having fun, great learning was also happening. One little guy who had perhaps been a bit skeptical before we started, proudly announced at the end “That was a lot more funner than I first thought!” It brought a smile to my face, as I thought of times in my life that I had felt the same as he did!
When I was in university I was desperate for a summer job. I had my mom call friends of ours, the Romualdi family (Hmm... can you guess where this is going?) and ask if they needed a cashier at their family owned grocery store. To my dismay they did not, but Mr. Romualdi replied that they DID need a housekeeper. (Can you hear me laughing already?) He assured her it was just part time, but his wife would work with me. When my mom proposed this idea to me, I looked at her like she was crazy and immediately asked “Have you seen my room lately? I am clearly not cut out to be ANYBODY’s maid! NO WAY!” My mom calmly replied, “This is a lovely family and Mrs. Romualdi is so nice. She will work with you and let’s be honest here, you have no other job prospects right now. (OUCH!) Why don’t you give it a try and the worst thing that happens if it is not for you, then you can quit. So what do you think?” Much as I hated to admit it, my mom made a lot of sense. I couldn’t help but dread the thought of being someone’s housekeeper though. I kept thinking sarcastically, “Oh this is going to be lots of fun! Give me a break!” Well the first day actually went very well, and so did all the other days after that because just as my mom had said Mrs. Romualdi was a wonderful, friendly and very kind woman. She did not see me as “hired help,” but as a new and valued friend who was worth getting to know. We took more breaks than we worked and she always rounded my pay cheques up meaning if I worked one hour and five minutes, she would always say “Here is a cheque for an hour and a half.” For many reasons I liked her from the get go and I had to admit that this was a much more “funner,” experience than I had anticipated to my great surprise. The icing on the cake was when her friendly, single and very handsome son Phil came home for lunch one day and my life in general got a lot more “funner,” as he became my boyfriend and eventual loving husband. Who knew? Not I, as I had written this opportunity off from the start. I felt uninterested, unqualified and uncomfortable with even giving it a try. I am so glad I did though, as my life changed for the better in ways I could not even have imagined.
Phil and I have often chatted about what if I had never come to work for his mom? Would we have ever met? Who knows? Often I have used this as an example to others to try something new, take a risk, or step out of their comfort zones as people never really know what could be waiting for them on the other side.
As a kid growing up, we would often go to King’s Island amusement park in Cincinnati Ohio in the summer. I had always been petrified of roller coasters up until that point, yet one summer for whatever reason, I mustered up the courage to ride a coaster for the first time named of all things: The Beast. The name alone should have sent me packing, yet despite my terror at the time, I ended up riding that bad boy several times with pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I knew my love of thrill seeking rides had only just begun. A more” funner” experience than I had imagined indeed once again.
New opportunities present themselves every day. Some feel comfortable and safe and others can push our boundaries. No one likes feeling vulnerable. No one wants to look foolish. No one wants to look like a rookie at something, yet we all have to start somewhere. Trust me. I know, and even the most famous success stories had their first day at some point.
A favourite story I read to my students this time of year is called The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey. It is a hilarious story about a wiener dog named Oscar who wants to get a really cool and scary costume for Halloween. Unfortunately for him though, his mom makes him a big bun costume so he will have to go out as a hotdog for Halloween. He is absolutely mortified as he sports this costume and sadly the other neighbourhood dogs tease him mercilessly. In the end the dreaded costume that caused him so much grief initially, becomes the very tool he needs to develop friendships with the once nasty dogs. They fell into a deep pond and with his costume on he is actually able to act as a life boat and get them all safe to shore. The “Hallo-wiener” is now known as “Hero Sandwich!” A story of a very rough start having a happy ending, and a much more “funner” costume than Oscar had once thought.
It has been said that life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it. We cannot control what comes our way, but we can control our reactions. Perspective and an open mind are so important in life. Like me you may be skeptical about a potential opportunity that has presented itself. There is always something to be learned and what we learn may surprise us in the end. With God at our side also it is always reassuring to know that we are never alone. He will always guide us and be our help in times of both comfort and stress.
So what “fun,” have you been avoiding? Humour me if you will because you may just be robbing yourself of a huge blessing, an exciting adventure, new friendships or an unexpected advancement that you did not even see coming. Prayerfully consider each opportunity that comes your way and have an open heart and mind. Where you think saying “no,” is a no brainer, a “yes,” may be just the response you need to make your whole life in general a lot more “funner” and truly meaningful.
Until Next Time,
Proverbs 3: 5-6 ~ Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Little Lesson Learned: You may be surprised about what can actually be fun and beneficial to your life if you keep an open mind.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015