08 Sep Metaphors of Life
A couple of weekends ago, I was helping my eldest granddaughter with her homework. Thankfully, it was English and not Maths because, at this stage, Year 5 Maths is a little beyond my comprehension with all the new ways they are doing, what should be, simple arithmetic.
The homework was Similes and Metaphors. Similes are easy: basically, the sentence or phrase has a ‘like’ or ‘as’ in it to describe something, such as, “The moon was like a glowing, magical orb.” Metaphors are a little trickier, especially for children, though some adults struggle with the meanings too. A metaphor goes straight to the point and says something ‘is’ something else, such as “It is raining cats and dogs” which we know means ‘a heavy downpour’, and hope we never actually experience animals falling from the sky! We were doing great, and scoring lots of 10/10; this homework is all done online now, so it saves the teacher lots of marking, and you get immediate feedback. Gold stars for us! Then it came to the section where we had to pair up a metaphor with a multiple choice of four meanings. If my maths serves me correct, we’d have 25% chance of getting it right … not high odds for a ten-year-old with little life experience to fall back on, or possibly her nearly sixty-year-old grannie at the end of a long day! And that got me thinking about one metaphor in particular: “Being thrown a curve ball.”
Sometimes in life, you’re thrown a curve ball. It comes right out of left field and hits you so hard you’re almost breathless. It can be something you see on TV, such as a disaster, or an inhumane act. Or it could be something you experience in person. And it affects you to the point of grief.
It can be something you hear. It can be a song that brings up a memory, from so long ago, from somewhere deep inside you which you thought you’d buried. It could be something you see on social media. And let’s face it … that’s full of things coming out of left field!! And some of them are just not right in so many, different ways.
It could be a message from a friend or a family member, maybe a letter, a card, an email. And it leaves you blindsided; wondering what you’ve said or done to receive it. It could be something that has been misconstrued and taken out of context. We’re not able to control how others perceive something that may be heard or said, seen or read. We only have control over the way we hear something, or we say something, or how we see something. Maybe that person needs to rant, assuage their guilt, and you were in the firing line. It’s not ok, but I now try to be the bigger person; sometimes it works, sometimes not!
And that’s why I love the Serenity Prayer: Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference. And I need to say that often!
We have to have control in our lives, and it’s because we have this that when that curve ball comes in, it can send us spinning. And, of course, as you are spinning everything seems to crowd in on you; all your thoughts, all your feelings, and sometimes that can be extremely upsetting, stirring up past feelings and events.
I have no magic answer for this; all I know is how, in my sixtieth year, I’m going to face Life’s challenges or, at least, hope I’m going to meet them. So, send me curved balls, throw them in from all angles, and I will do with them what I can. Because Life is far too short, especially at this time of my life, to be taken too seriously.
You have to pick your battles. And you have to ask yourself, “What are the things in life that are important to me, and important to the way I value life, and the way I see life.” In some ways, I suppose, it may seem a little selfish, but you need to think about the things that are going to make you happiest, and about the things you will do in Life to enhance this.
So, let’s all take a bat in hand, ready for that curve ball, and hit it back where it belongs, way over the fence and far away. Remember: ‘serenity to accept the things I cannot change’, and walk away; ‘courage to change the things I can’ and look for the proactive response that supports what you believe and feel is right for you; and ‘courage to know the difference’ which is sometimes the hardest part when we are reactive. However, we can only do what we can, when we can and how we can, depending on our circumstances at that time and place. Be easy on yourself. Guilt can be an awful adversary; it’s no use piling more on yourself if you miss the curve ball thrown at you. Just take your stance again, look the pitcher in the eye, and say, “Give it your best shot.”
You can’t control everything. Sometimes you need to relax and have faith that everything will work out. Let go a little, and just let Life happen.
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