Setback or spring forward?
The subject isn’t setting clocks, but moving forward, in time.
Sometimes I wonder if I have a sign on my back saying, “Kick Me!” Parents know that sign comes with children. The older they get, the worse it gets. But anyone who does their own taxes and has their own business or rental gets another “Kick me” sign from the IRS. Add more signs for disasters at home, appliances breaking, roofs leaking, etcetera. We had both last month. And an unexpected family emergency that kept us home from a church youth trip. Might as well plaster those signs on our windows.
Through all this stuff, did I ask myself what I did to deserve it? Not much. Without explanation, that might seem like a fatalistic point of view. So here goes. It’s too late to change the past. Once I decide if I made a mistake that I can correct in the future, i.e. by repenting, apologizing, or taking different actions, further thinking back is backwards thinking, a waste of time. If I did something wrong, my time is better spent dealing with the problem in time, as in now. If I didn’t do something wrong, springing forward is still the only way to get over a setback.
I know I taught my children right from wrong at an early age and repeated it often enough. But parents can’t make all their children’s choices for them. At my age, I still haven’t got it down. Even if most of my bad choices relate to forgetting something, I can’t expect my kids to make perfect choices. Sleepless nights aside, I’m happy for any sign of improvement. And some of my children are managing their lives well enough that I know I did something right, sometime.
As for taxes, the government officials who create the tax code prefer we hate spending time doing taxes enough to skip deductions. That way they get to keep more of our money. The whole system is geared in their favor, like slot machines. The odds are against people having enough patience or time or knowledge to keep the required records and then plow through all the paperwork necessary to keep every penny they’re entitled to. I just grit my teeth, harness my husband to the plow long enough to account for his own spending, and get it done.
It’s a waste of time asking if I deserve a leaky roof and a broken fridge because there’s a law written somewhere—it never rains but it pours. Anyway, that rain helped our loquats grow into a bumper crop, never mind that we’ll have to give most of it away because of the broken fridge and lack of time for canning. At least I have a fridge with food in it—and a roof.
I spoke of adversity last week to the 7th grade class reviewing my book. At their young ages, 12 through 14, they weren’t sure what adversity meant. I told them some people see their troubles and trials as opportunities rather than adversities, but not always while they’re happening. I wonder if one day a trial will make me smile and say, “Open the door. Opportunity knocks.”
I’m walking to open the door, if not springing forward to open it. During all my recent trials, I kept writing. Sure, it was a half-hour to an hour at a time, but I wrote. In fiction, problems drive the plot. And due to my own trials over the last month, I found ways to make my character’s problems worse. The 7th graders suggested more ways. According to one reviewer in the other class that recently began reading, my book’s beginning is “way better”. Knock-knock!