Today my fortune cookie fortune said: “You will be a great success – both in business and social situations.” Phew! What a relief! Seriously…after 2+ years of unemployment I was really beginning to wonder. Now I know I can rest easy. I mean, if the fortune cookie says it’s so then it’s so…right?!
But that fortune cookie did get me to wondering about my current situation. Who am I kidding? That didn’t GET me to wondering. Thinking and wondering about my situation is what I seem to be doing most of the time these past several months. When will I find a job? Will I ever go back to feeling financially secure? How long is this recession really going to last? Why does it seem like I’m the only one still out of work? What’s wrong with me? My friends and I affectionately refer to this kind of counterproductive self reflection as “ShitTown.” I on more than one occasion have said that “My mind is like a bad neighborhood – no one should go there alone!” I think we all find ourselves in ShitTown from time to time. Like any bad neighborhood, the key is: DON’T GET OUTTA THE CAR. Just find a way to get your ass back on the interstate and the hell out of that place. It’s no good. But it is so easy to become paralyzed by thoughts (analysis paralysis) and allow yourself to feel isolated believing you are the only one in the world who is suffering. But you have to remember – and believe – that just isn’t so. SO many people out there are hurting. Many are in far worse shape than me. We all have clouds in our life. Stormy times. Difficult struggles. I try to remind myself of what my Mom would often tell me when life gets me down: “This too shall pass.”
I was watching Oprah’s new network this past weekend and she has this really wonderful new program called “Master Class.” In it she interviews people she considers to be Masters; people like Diane Sawyer, Jay-Z, and Simon Cowell. The one I was particularly moved by was Maya Angelou. I’ve never read one of her books. I’ve seen her on television and probably heard bits and pieces of her famous poems but so much of what she said about what she’s learned in life struck a chord with me. Here are just a few of the thoughts she shared that I loved:
I’m aware that I’m a child of God.
It’s amazing to think that the IT which made fleas and mountains…and rivers…and stars…made ME.
What I pray for is humility…to know that there is something greater than I.
Then I have to know that the brute, the bigot and the batterer are all children of God; whether they know it or not. And I’m supposed to treat them accordingly. And it’s hard. And I blow it all the time.
I loved that…and share her belief. She talked about her grandmother “Mama” who raised her as a young child and her mother who raised her later in life and the lessons they instilled in her. Like “When you get: give. When you learn: teach.” So simple. So powerful. She also talked about doing right. This especially inspired me because doing right is so important to me. Maybe it’s because I was born a Libra ruled by the scales. Or maybe it’s because I am the youngest of six children, a child of divorce who continuously fought so hard to keep peace in my family. She said:
Now sister, you know what’s right. Just do right. You don’t really have to ask anybody. The truth is: right may not be expedient. It may not be profitable. But it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that body guards can’t give you. Try to be that…in your church, in your temple. Try to be that in your classroom. Do it because it is right to do. People will know you. And they will add their prayers to your life. They’ll wish you well.
So…take up the battle. Take it up. It’s yours. This is your life. This is your world. So pick it up. Pick up the battle and make it a better world. Just where you are.
Isn’t that beautiful? I can’t think of a better blessing than to have others wish you well and to add their prayers to your life. So for today – I’m going to BELIEVE that dame fortune cookie. Recognizing that I, too, am a child of God. That there is something in me that is of value – and maybe not just to me. I just have to keep FAITH and HOPE and TAKE UP THE BATTLE. And remember that if my Mom were still here, she would tell me: “Child, this too shall pass.”