Mark Twain once said that the “difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” He was so right. Semantics make a huge difference in how we perceive our situations.
I moved here a little over five years ago, kicking and screaming, because it was SO HARD to leave the coast after living there nearly three decades. Making the break more difficult was leaving two of my three children who still lived there, a myriad of friends, and a job that I loved. And did I mention the beach??? Even now I long to hear the waves, see the sea birds, and walk along the strand. But I digress. I moved here and have adjusted quite well.
This weekend some events occurred that made me realize for the umpteenth time that I have adjusted well despite my husband’s total involvement with his family and friends. Then the thought struck me that I needed to change despite to because. It appears that I’ve been harboring a seething resentment that he has EVERYONE he loves right around him while I have him and a sweet aunt. He’s so caught up in his family and his pastimes like hunting and golfing and fantasy baseball that in the beginning I felt that I needed to take a number.
However, this morning I realized that it’s because of his many interests, family members, and friends that I have been able to chisel out a life for myself that is quite nice. Since moving here, I’ve made new friends (including online ones), gotten another great job, written a book, started a couple of book clubs, traveled with friends, and participated in more activities and events than I thought possible.
Are you wondering what brought about this change in perception? Let’s examine Saturday’s wedding reception where I began to “see the light.” I arrived alone because he was in charge of making sure that his parents were there early. We sat together during the wedding ceremony itself, but as soon as the vows had been said, we went our separate ways. Everyone was asked to go outside to mingle and enjoy the great October weather so that pictures could be taken of the bridal party.
Right away Hubby got involved in a conversation with one of his sons, so I struck up a conversation with a sharply dressed woman who was standing alone. Turns out she was the groom’s cousin who had arrived just the day before from New Jersey. When she was called inside for pictures, I glanced around and saw that now my husband was talking with his brothers. I sauntered over to a table where an older lady beautifully dressed in red was sitting at a small table. During our fifteen minute conversation, I learned where she was from, how she met her husband, and a little about her life. Delightful lady. She had a great manicure too…and cool silvery shoes.
At last it was time to go inside, and my husband must have been pretty hungry because he quickly got in line and then took a seat at the table with his parents and the lady in the red dress and silvery shoes. Hmmm. Interesting. I chatted with a few more folks and finally got into the line to get some great shrimp, strawberries, and crackers with spinach dip. Looking about for a place to sit, I saw a young couple seated at a table for four so I joined them. Again, a swell conversation. At some point, my dear husband realized that I was the only person in his family without a spouse close by and came to find me.
Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon. He went hunting with a friend so I filled the time by blogging, reading, walking four miles, and “homecaring.” I’m not sure what his plans are for tonight, but I’m going to a Book of Mormon class at 7:00, and Thursday night there’s a wedding reception at the church. Friday morning I’ll tackle my internet courses early in the morning and then take off for Myrtle Beach for a conference.
I love this man. Otherwise I wouldn’t still be here. And I’m happy to realize that I owe him a debt of gratitude for making my full life possible. Because, not despite. It’s amazing what a shift in perspective and change of words can do.