Saturday, May 15, 2010

Is Life a Series of Random Events or a Purposeful Dance?

By Julie Marie Rahm

Do you ever have those days when it seems everyone in the world is just trying to block your progress and tick you off? My husband, John, has had several days like that over the past few months centered around attempting to title a Pennsylvania truck in North Carolina. The truck belonged to his father who died last August. His father had lung cancer for almost three years. Near the end of his life when he could no longer drive, he signed the title and sent it to John. Later, John signed the title and had his signature notarized. And then he went to the NC License Plate Agency.

At the Agency, the woman behind the desk asked him if the sale was from a family member. John informed her that it belonged to his father who died. She coldly responded that he needed paperwork from the estate attorney that said he should have the truck. Frustrated, John returned home.

A few weeks passed. Paperwork and title in hand, John returned to the NC License Plate Agency. This time the paperwork was in order, but John’s Florida driver’s license precluded him from registering the truck. The same woman informed him in her same cold manner that the truck could only be registered to someone with a NC driver’s license. Just to ensure that was always true, John went to the Agency in another city. Yes, it was true. The state of Florida allows people to renew their driver’s licenses online, a much easier process than in NC. John had a Florida license throughout his 26-year Marine Corps career and did not want to relinquish it.

I just renewed my NC driver’s license in April, so I was able to advise John that he would save a lot of time if he made an appointment. No one at the Department of Motor Vehicles office would have volunteered the information that appointments are possible, as I witnessed firsthand while I waited my turn. The next available appointment was three weeks in the future. Although he had asked questions of the person who made the appointment for him, he did not think to ask everything, and she did not volunteer the information. John needed to show his Social Security Card to get his license. He had everything but that with him. Although his military identification card has his social security number on it, that was not good enough. Since then, he has also learned that to prove he lives in NC he needs to bring a utility bill or something with his address on it. That’s where we are today. No truck registration. No driver’s license.

Throughout the process, John has had a number of great opportunities to be angry if he were looking for a reason to be. Not one of the government employees he spoke with volunteered anything to help him. In fact, they appeared to be void of compassion.

Remembering his metaphorical level, John has maintained his mental and emotional balance by looking at life as purposeful vs. random. On one side of the level life is a series of random events. On the other side of the level life a purposeful dance of events that teach lessons and cause personal growth. If John focused on life being random, his level would tilt and he would likely be angry about the treatment he received. Instead, John focused on the title and license exercises as a well-orchestrated ballet between himself and the government employees choreographed to teach him patience. Consequently, he harbors no anger, no resentment. No one wronged him. No one needs to apologize. No one needs forgiveness.

Patience does not come easily to John. It may be a lesson he is on earth to learn. If that is the case, he will have more opportunities to “dance” until he learns the lesson.

What verbal or written exchanges have you had with people lately that left you feeling wronged? Is it possible that those exchanges were really opportunities to learn an important lesson? Is there a “dance” that continually presents itself in your life? Check your metaphorical level. Is it tilting with thoughts that life is merely a series of random events? If so, try changing your focus. Use your metaphorical hammer and hammer out bad-feeling thoughts one at a time. Then, hammer in thoughts you believe and that feel better. If you feel enraged, find another thought you believe that brings you up to mere anger. Are you angry? Find another thought you believe that brings you up to blame. Hammer in one thought at a time and climb the emotional ladder until you feel a glimmer of hope again.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Top curve