“A man lives sort of, well, in jerks. Baby’s born or somebody dies and that’s a jerk. He gets a farm or loses it and that’s a jerk. With a woman, it’s all in one flow like a stream, little eddies and waterfalls. But the river, it goes right on. Woman looks at it that way.” –The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
I haven’t read this novel since high school, and I won’t explain how many years ago that was. This quote stuck with me all these years, and came to mind again recently after hearing of health issues from friends and family members to start off this new year.
I can’t say that I always look at life’s changes as a flow in a stream- there were some things that happened in life that shook me to my core; times where I wasn’t sure there was a way out, or the path was hidden from me. Could I be so stoic as to accept the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ (Hamlet, Shakespeare). Some events we can weather, knowing it’s a passing storm- Some events, we can’t see the end of. Sometimes, there is no end.
My Grandmother would say “I am trying to get used to the new normal”, after the death of my Grandfather. How can you lose a life partner? Before it happens, do you think of what life is like without them? Or do you shut it out, pray you are not the one left behind.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”. John 16:33 NIV
Remembering these passages remind me to expect the world to have trouble- there will be sickness, there will be loss, there will be pain, there will be death. But by understanding these things will happen because it is the way the world Is somehow takes some of the sting out of the hurts we endure. Letting go of expectations of a smooth ride in life releases me to enjoy the pleasant times, and look forward to the good times that do come after the hurts.
One foot in front of the other. One small change each day. A smile at a memory to get you thru the tears. And remember, life– “it’s all in one flow like a stream, little eddies and waterfalls.”