It is said that, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” These teachers can take on many forms-a friend, a family member, or even a stranger. It is uncanny how these teachers appear at the right place, at the right time, and with the right teaching aids and methods for the student who has been awaiting their arrival. Sometimes, the student did not even know that they were in need of a teacher, until the teacher arrives to share their lesson. Recently, I found myself in the role of the unsuspecting student who was in need of lesson.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media, and lately, it has been leaning toward the latter. The other night, though, it was nothing but love. As I scrolled through Facebook’s news feed to catch up with friends and family members virtually, I saw a quote that caught my eye. I stopped scrolling, started reading, and became an eager student.
A new colleague of mine shared a quote that her husband had used that morning during his sermon. It was a simple, yet powerful, statement, “Conditions aren’t conclusions.” As soon as I read it, it took up residence in my heart and mind and forged a tentative truce between the two, as lately, they have been involved in an internal battle with one another. As I mulled over those three words, I thought of the conditions in my life that have led me to wade into the murky waters of anxiety and depression, yet again, and how desperately I wanted things to change. Change felt far out of reach, though, so, I was mired in the belief that my current conditions were ultimate conclusions.
When I looked at these various seemingly permanent conditions from this new perspective, gradually, I began to see that this really isn’t the end of the world as I know it, even if it felt like it. As I know, but so easily forget, feelings aren’t facts. Feelings change and so do conditions. This is easy for me to remember when it comes to other people’s challenging conditions, but it is often lost on me. With that quote, though, I was found.
Too often, when I have not reached a goal or a dream has not been brought to reality according to my timeline or expectations, I jump to the conclusion that it will never happen. Done. Kaput. Over. Finished before it even began, in some cases. It doesn’t matter how many times I have been proven wrong, as this way of thinking is my first line of defense when conditions aren’t favorable. It is a warped defense mechanism that hurts me in the present, instead of its intended purpose of protecting me from future hurt should I not reach my goal or realize my dream. It’s exhausting to think that way, and that new quote was a much-needed jolt to change my perceptions. It was a call to action that I am glad I answered.
While none of these conditions magically changed or disappeared altogether (if only they had), I have found myself reflecting on those words quite often. I have started to take stock of what I can and cannot change about each of the situations, take action when I can, and let go when it is appropriate. It’s a definitely an ongoing process, but it is a start. A good start. A fresh start. These conditions aren’t conclusions, as much as they are beginnings.
Little did the pastor know that the words he preached to his congregation in Arizona would find their way to me in Kentucky, but they did. My teacher had arrived, and I was an eager and grateful student.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story