A Sarine Thought… or Two
The Life Equation
Mama always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.’” —Forrest Gump
Ah, Forrest, there is such truth to your mother’s life observation. However, the more life I experience, the more I find it comes with a call to action and is not dependent on the luck of the draw like when choosing from the Godiva box. In fact, it seems to me to be downright mathematical. While I’m no mathematician or philosophical genius, I am a semi-old gal who has experienced a thing or two and has discovered a pretty accurate summation of life…
LIFE = (OH YES! + OH NO!) AND YET...
There you have it. The “oh yes!” moments added to the “oh no!” moments all raised to the power of the mysterious “and yet...” I have always been a proponent of simplicity whenever possible. It makes things much more palatable to my psyche. Thus, this simple equation puts life in a format my brain can take in and stew on for a while without gagging on the excess gristle. The three parts are pretty self-explanatory, but let’s flesh them out a little more, shall we?
THE “OH YES!”
These would be the highlights of our lives—the thrill of victory; the high of achieving a desired goal; the fulfillment of a longed-for dream; the desired answer to an earnest prayer; the gifts of joy, happiness, laughter, victory and accomplishment. These are the moments we love and can never have enough of. If we could have the “oh yes!” moments daily, we absolutely would. I’ve had many in my time. Some were big and others were small: winning my third-grade spelling bee; earning a spot on the cheerleading squads at my middle and high schools; being voted homecoming princess; getting into Texas A&M University as a transfer student to the Mays School of Business; marrying the love of my life; finding out I was pregnant with the child Ross and I had prayed for; birthdays; anniversaries; holidays; promotions; vacations; etc. “Oh yes!” moments are made up of all the good stuff we crave and enjoy.
THE “OH NO!”
These would be the hardships of our lives--the agony of defeat; the low of missing the mark; the emptiness that comes when a dream is dashed; not getting the answer we hoped for, even after earnest prayer. These are the moments we try to avoid like the plague but are inevitably going to face the longer we live. They are moments of illness, tears, heartache, loss and failure. I’ve had my fair share of “oh no!” moments as well: a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis at two years old; Bell’s palsy as a senior in high school; the loss of several childhood friends to cancer, accidents and suicide; having to give up the thought of having more kids after 35 because of a necessary hysterectomy; losing grandparents; losing jobs; funerals; the ending of friendships, etc. It is all the bad stuff we deeply fear and never want to experience.
THE POWER OF THE “AND YET...”
This part of the equation is crucial. This is the part that keeps us humble and hopeful as long as we apply it to all the “oh yes!” and “oh no!” moments as they come. The “and yet…” power allows for learning and change. It is the part that tempers the good with reality and brings the recognition that all those great things that happen to us don’t happen in a bubble. There were people and circumstances and divine appointments aiding in our good experiences. It is also the part that gives us perspective to recognize that hardships are not experienced in a bubble either. We are never alone and once the hardship has passed, we can see the goodness, strength and fortitude those circumstances have produced in us.
The “and yet…” moments are exponentially more powerful than the “oh yes!” and “oh no!” Any experience I have had, good or bad, has been enriched by the lesson God taught me through it. There is such power in the learning. That is where changes can be made, skills can be honed, what is broken can be fixed, and what works can be celebrated.
Whatever part of the equation I am experiencing at any given time, I am always thankful when it is increased to the power of the “and yet…” For instance, my wedding day to Ross was a MEGA “oh yes!” moment. But the power of the “and yet…” in that situation has been, that however wonderful that day was, and it REALLY was, the marriage that has followed the wedding has been so much more wonderful! Then there was the “oh no!” moment when Ross and I were told having a baby would be a bad idea until I had better test results on my quarterly blood glucose levels, which I had been battling to control for 23 years. While that was hard to hear and accept, the “and yet…” was my healthy baby boy born two years later, because that is exactly when God wanted him to be born.
The power of “and yet…” is where the beauty of life comes shining through.
While the formula may be simple, we all know life is extremely complicated. However, if we will look for our “and yet…” exponents through each “oh yes!” and “oh no!”, I believe we will find life, while not chocolate-flavored, is such a sweet experience.