“For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do us part.” When a couple says those words on their wedding day, there are probably few that would be prepared for the “worse, poorer, sickness” parts.
Our early life and marriage flowed rather nicely. Maybe you see your life as we did ours. We knew what stages came when: dating, marriage, children, career building, participation in their school and activities, and eventually sending them off into adulthood to repeat the normal healthy life process. Our PLAN didn’t include that life will change profoundly from one moment to the next.
We looked at life like a vending machine – actually expecting the piece of candy whose button we pushed to come out . The problem was: we got a different candy bar. Sure, we like this one OK, but it wasn’t exactly the flavor we expected, nor the size we chose, and come to think of it, one of us liked the nuts; the other didn’t. Kicking the machine to see if what we wanted would eventually come out wasn’t an option, plus, what would we do with the one we had?
In real life, the surprise (life changing moment) might be the addition of children, a life-changing diagnosis or health issue, or like it happened for us – a child with multiple special needs. Life is changed forever sometimes by one situation that will ultimately re-define the couple and the family relationships. Whether hoping for a particular candy bar or some other hopeful outcome, when the deal doesn’t deliver, we are disappointed. But when there is a change for what life might have been, we can be devastated.
Disappointment can last a few moments with few short lived side effects (a wrong candy bar), but devastation might happen in a moment of time with lasting life effects when our life is changed in a way that it will never be the same. How we adjust, deal with the devastation, and look at life will ultimately make a difference in how we make it through life.
- Concentrate on what we don’t have or begin to see the beauty of the situation in a new and different way?
- Will we concentrate on what other have, what others get to do, where others get to go or will be learn to be satisfied in our place in life?
- Will we see our dreams as unfulfilled or simply filled in a different way?
- Will we see the difficult little things, or the overall big picture which reveals a beautiful story?
- Will we select one instrument in the orchestra and listen to it alone, possibly able to hear a few mistakes, or open our minds to the beautiful sound that all the instruments together will make under the direction of the conductor?
We have the choice to make, and the earlier the better, as the PLAN is seldom the PLAN … what’s YOUR PLAN?
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