So Dean, Aidan, Reba and I are in Maryland visiting Dean’s family. Good god, it’s cold here. I don’t actually own clothes for this kind of weather (why would I, living in a place where fall means low 70s?!). So at this moment, I’m wearing about half of my entire suitcase. I’ve discovered three layers of thin add up to about one layer of thick. That plus a sweater, a blanket over my legs, and my hat is more or less keeping me from shivering while I type. Oh, and I’m sitting directly next to the heater. Pathetic.
For all the frostbite though, my family is having a blast. Aidan has a cousin here who is a little less than a year older than he, and they get along swimmingly. In fact, ever since we arrived two days ago, he’s been pretty much out of sight, independently playing with her. When I do see him, he’s happily running with a princess something or other in his hand, his cousin, Sophia, close behind.
Reba, too, has a playmate: a 70 lb. puppy named Oaken who is as thick of frame as his name implies. When he wants to play, he jumps with both front paws on Reba’s head. Like the impeccable service dog she is, Reba ignores him for a moment. Then she dives for the jugular and the tussle is on.
It was Oaken who brought about this morning’s shero opportunity.
Yesterday, my glasses went missing. Everyone remembered them being on the table in the morning but by evening, they were gone. We looked everywhere. Under the furniture, in cupboards, drawers, in the fridge. Four adults and two kids scoured every inch of this house. Nothing.
Well, this morning I went into the kitchen to get some water and there on the counter was the lid to a tupperware holding bits and pieces of brown plastic and broken glass. Yep. My Ellen Tracy prescription glasses. Demolished.
Our best guess is that one of the cats knocked them off the table and Oaken stashed them somewhere until sometime during the night when he ATE them.
Thankfully, he seems none the worse for having eaten glass, plastic, and metal. The vet has been consulted and he is positively the exact same Oaken he was yesterday, woofing at anything he doesn’t understand, bopping Reba on the head every few minutes.
Certainly, the same cannot be said of my glasses.
However, staring at their remnants on the kitchen counter, I could hear this faint dinging in the back of my mind. Ding…. ding…. ding, ding, ding. “There’s an opportunity here,” a little voice sang. “Remember? The Shero’s Way!”
Ah yes, a teaching moment, for you AND for me. I’m 3,000 miles from home with 1/3 of my designer prescription eyeglasses in shreds on the counter, the other 2/3 making its way through the digestive track of a dog. What would a shero make of this little adversity? (And what can we learn about how we face much bigger ones?)
The first thing I did when my shero habit kicked in was marvel. Actually, no, wait. The VERY first thing I did was feel. Shock, disappointment, a twinge of worry. THEN my shero habit kicked in and I started to marvel. I’d never seen something that was still existing and identifiable, be as utterly decimated as those glasses. It was impressive actually.
Then I laughed. Humor is DEFINITELY a shero’s dear friend. Nothing keeps victimhood at bay like laughter.
Then (a little slow on the draw), I wondered about Oaken and his belly.
Once I knew he was ok (at least for the moment) and that there was nothing to do but watch him and wait, I thought well, I’m due for an eye exam anyway. My prescription has probably changed so it’ll be good to update it, and hey, now I can get cool, NEW designer glasses. Yea!
That’s not just making lemonade, by the way. It might just be an example of something happening for me rather than to me.
But as soon as I had that thought, I could feel there was something more. So next I wondered what this all was reflecting to me. If it was happening for me rather than to me, as is the shero perspective, and if just maybe I had led myself here, what was here for me to learn or see or understand?
I remembered the day before having a vague thought that I wasn’t caring for my glasses very well by leaving them on the table. Of course, I was thinking I might lose them or they might accidentally get broken or scratched, not that they would become someone’s hazardous midnight snack, but still. It had occurred to me to do something different. I just hadn’t heeded that impulse.
And the truth is, I have a tendency not to care properly for things I value. I don’t mean people and the like. I mean literally “things”: jewelry that’s important to me; my computer; my phone; my favorite boots. I’m actually quite careless with things like that and, often, they get ruined or lost.
I can’t say I totally understand what that’s about but I suspect it has to do with how I value myself. It’s an outward sign of the level of care I’m willing to give myself, maybe even the level of care I think I deserve. And it’s probably worth a deeper look. Thanks to Oaken (and my shero habit), I consider myself alerted.
So let me be clear about something. I’m not telling you this story in order to suggest that we all start scrutinizing every inch of our daily lives (though this whole process took less than 5 minutes for me). I’m just hoping it’s an easily digested example (sorry, Oaken) of what the Shero’s Way might look like when really hard things happen, and what we might stand to gain from choosing that path.
So just to break it down, here’s how it went (the Cliff notes version):
I felt; I marveled; I laughed; I cared; I made lemonade; and I looked for meaning.
That last one is really critical when it comes to facing the big challenges or (maybe more importantly) AVOIDING them completely. I’ll talk more about that next time. But for now, what’s important is that those steps empowered me — whether we’re talking about my broken glasses or my broken back — to be propelled forward instead of held back.
Can’t be too mad at Oaken for that!
(And did anyone else notice that I fell out of an oak tree and my glasses were eaten by a dog named Oaken?? Tee hee.)
“Well done one and all. It really was incredible. I look forward to more.”
That’s a note I just received about the Shero Summit. Did you catch it? Now’s your chance to relish your favorite Shero story, or make a custom collection of stories to lift you up and renew your faith whenever you need it. Individual interviews are on sale for only $10. Visit http://sherosummit.com/shining-shero/