Some times you can stand at a fork in a road and see where each ends up just by seeing what’s standing at the first step of each path. And sometimes you can seemingly stand at the end of each path looking back at the point they diverged and see what’s going to bring to their respective ends.
I saw this very clearly yesterday when taking care of two teenage girls, who were outwardly, very similarly. But inwardly completely different beings entirely. The differences were so vast in how they carried themselves, how willing they were to take responsibility, and the biggest difference was how they made the entire world around them feel.
“Who’s blessing is that?” Can be taken two very different ways when receiving report as a nurse. Sometimes it is a sincere blessing and other times it’s the polite southern way of saying, you’re about to go through something very difficult.
I think of this phrase and both of its meaning when retelling my story of a day that I hope I don’t soon forget, especially when choosing which path I’m going to head down/lead children down. I hope that no matter how far I may find myself down the undesirable path I can jump ship and work harder to get and stay on the, in every imaginable way possible, a better path, knowing and having seen very clearly where each path separates from the other and ultimately leads.
I watched their interactions with their parents. I watched their interactions with staff. I saw how they interacted with themselves as I passed by and they had time on their own.
The one, we’ll call her, hates-everything-and-everyone-girl. Couldn’t be pleased. Everything she asked for she got and it was never enough. It was never right. She was always on a rampage. She would manipulate, whine, and cower before then mock, her mother. When going out of your way to help her she would only grunt and look around you at the television. When left to herself, her room was dark, she laid in bed, she huffed and puffed and tried to sleep the day away. Even when she did sleep her face was twisted into a grimace. (Even one of dr’s mentioned that she would only venture to go in her room once every 3 days, because she couldn’t handle the misery of being around her.)
The other, we’ll call, I-hope-my-children-see-the-world-the-way-she-does-girl. Was very kind, forgiving, and had a sense of humor, even when things didn’t go quite right. She was polite and comfortable with her mother. Not submissive and fearful. But open and talked freely with her, even laughing easily. She said thank you for everything, so sweetly that one would work hard just to hear it again, even if it was offered as a gratitude for something simple. When she was left alone in her room, she snuggled down comfortably with her blankets on the couch on her room. She enjoyed a nap, near the window where the rain poured down. She smiled when you came in the room and woke her up.
I feel in some situations I tend to me more like the first, which makes me sad, which is another difference between the girls. The first I look at with shame and pity to ever think I could find a part of her inside me. The second, is something to aspire to. And when I think I might see a glimpse of herself in me I feel contented and hope that it will become a bigger part of my view of life. I feel hopeful and excited rather dejected and powerless over my life. I have peace with myself, my life, and others.
I hope to not remain unchanged by the very stark, very real differences observed that day at work.
So, again this morning, I stand at the crossroads and, will several times through out the day. As I do, I hope I remember the differences between these two girls, their actions, and results of those actions. I hope my actions make me more like the mother of the second girl, who I’m sure lead to her development into such a wonderful young woman.
After having met both mothers of the girls, I can also see a little further toward the start of the paths that lead these girls to where they are now.
The second girl’s mother and I had a conversation about how people speak to one another. She couldn’t understand how someone at a gas station could have responded so rudely to such a simple question by a woman who was having a very difficult day. (An event she had witnessed earlier that day.)
Was her question.
“Why did they have to talk to her like that? They could have said the same thing in a much kinder fashion.
It’s as though they had decided to to be angry for no reason whatsoever. Why can’t people just decide to be happy for no reason whatsoever and reserve the anger for time that merits that kind of response.
Instead people just walk around angry for no reason waiting for something good enough to make them happy.
You’d think they would just walk around being happy until there was a really good reason to be angry.”
In deed. In deed, you would think that would be how people choose to live their lives.
I know I’m guilty of often living angry for no reason some times. Or at least responding angrily. Sure I can come up with a bunch of stupid rationalizations for it, of why I deserve to be angry (like that’s a good thing or something I want to have “earned”). Or how and why I’ve become jaded....but why would I choose to remain that way? The truth is I’d rather be happy. Any reason I have to be angry, hurt or jaded should be used as a reason to say, I deserve to be happy after having gone through any of that, rather than I deserve to be angry. So deserving or not. I choose to try to be happy by altering my thinking to more accurately mimic the behavior exhibited by the second girl and her mother.