My aunt for whom I am named has lots of little ‘isms, sayings that are particular to her. The one that reminds me the most of her, the one I find myself repeating quite often, is the title of this post: “In the ocean of life, it’s just a spit.”
Isn’t that the truth about our day-to-day annoyances that seem to occupy our thoughts, allowing them to set our mood, and not in a positive way? Some of our problems keep us up at night, worrying. Some things that happen to us…or some things we do to someone else…are like a movie playing over and over and over in our heads. So easily, we get caught up in the drama of our lives, and we let issues that will not affect us one way or another in a day or a month…or even an hour from the time they occur…be all consuming.
Certainly, some things that happen to us that are monumental and deserve contemplation, discussion, counseling, advice. But most of what we encounter in our everyday lives truly are “spits.”
Let’s analyze some situations that are spits and those that aren’t with a few questions:
• Could someone die? Definitely not a spit. Pretty much as big as the ocean itself.
• Is someone’s health at issue? Depends. Have they been diagnosed with cancer? Not a spit. Could surgery be in the near future? Not a spit. An ongoing issue with no diagnosis? Not a spit. Sinuses? Spit.
• Money troubles? Spit in 90% of situations, though I have to remind myself of this all the time, and I mean ALL the time. Excepting that small percentage of situations, money trouble comes down to “things.” And things are itsy, bitsy spits.
• Is your child being bullied? Not a spit. Don’t be afraid to take action on his or her behalf.
• Is your child the bully? Nowhere near a spit. Get that handled now.
•Did someone hurt you? Probably not a spit, but it can be. Depends on how much that person means to you. Worth some exploration.
• Did you hurt somebody? Not a spit anyway you look at it. Fix it.
• Are you feeling overwhelmed because you have too much on your plate? Spit. Learn to say no, and take some things off of your plate. Heck, break the plate if you need to. You can get a new one, and you can fill it up with things that matter to you.
• You put your foot in your mouth? Spit.
• Can’t find the right thing to wear? Spit.
• Your child spilled red Kool-aid on your brand new couch? Spit.
• Someone doesn’t like you? Spit.
Some of you will disagree with my idea of a spit, and that is fine. I don’t mean to blanket every situation and act as if a gargantuan happening in your life should be treated as trivial. What I do mean is this: in the grand scheme of things, most of us really don’t have any problems. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, and all of our appendages are in tact and working. Our children are healthy and have every thing they need. We have friends and family who love us. We have pillows on which to lay our heads at night. We are good. Really, we are.
One of my preachers used to say that Americans don’t realize just how lucky we are….even our cars have houses. Seriously, a whole bunch of us have a garage in which we store our vehicles so we won’t have to carry groceries into the house in the rain, so our cars and trucks and vans will be protected. Craziness. If we had an iota of an idea as to what goes on in other parts of the world, I don’t think we would ever, ever, ever complain.
Another friend of mine often repeats something her wise, graceful mother used to tell her: If all of us threw our problems into a pile, we would pick our own every time. Someone always has it worse than we do, but we can’t help but stew about our own issues and our own stresses…because they are ours. This is your life, this is my life, and whatever we have going on at the moment feels super important. And it is important…to us.
But I think it is necessary to stop in the midst of crisis and ask ourselves: Is this a spit? Because most of the time, it is.
And if it isn’t, then we are about to embark on a character-building exercise that will help mold us, that will give us something…strength, information, wisdom, courage…to throw into the deep well that is ourselves, so that the next time something difficult arises, we know where to go. We pull from that place and find our courage and our solace and our ingenuity, and we are able to face the next trial with more confidence and with less worry. We can help our friends and neighbors and loved ones with information and hope because we now have a life experience under our belt from which we learned. We are able to guide someone else and give them something solid with which they can fill their well.
Some of us find that comfort from seeking out someone older and wiser to get us through a difficult time. Some situations may necessitate research or networking. Some of us find our answers through prayer and spiritual guidance. But some situations need to be left by the wayside, discarded in our minds as the trash that it is: nothing to get upset over. Getting twisted on the inside over matters that are inconsequential are self-inflicted wounds that can…and should…be avoided. Finding a way to discern what truly is a problem and what isn’t will leave all of us more content. And contentment is a good thing.
So today, it is my hope that you will remember my Aunt Marsha’s wise words…and that you will choose not to let the spits steal your joy.
What words of advice from family members do you live by? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!