Sunday, September 23, 2018
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Rarely fatal


I love the reminder to laugh at myself and to not take life so seriously. A friend recently related a humorous story to me that gave us both a good laugh. She and her grandsons were digging an earthen mound in the pasture when she felt something bite the back of her leg. As she reached down to investigate, she discovered a squishy creature in her pant leg. Hobbling to a better location and pulling her pant leg up, she discovered a centipede.

Her brave and daring young grandson promptly defeated the villainous centipede while she took a less heroic approach and searched the internet for the outcome of a centipede bite. To her amazement she read, “Although centipede bites may be painful, they are rarely fatal.” We both laughed boisterously at the new found relief she felt in knowing that her discomfort would not have a fatal end.

Immediately, I was aware of how my friend’s tale depicted the importance of a lighter perspective in the inevitable pains of life. As part of the human condition, I experience pain and discomfort. Loss and difficulty are a part of life. Sometimes I experience the sting of sharp words or unkind actions. Other times I notice the swelling of my wounded pride or inconvenienced ego. Disappointment, fear, grief, and rejection may cause severe pain. Mishaps, mistakes, and plans gone astray cause redness at the site of contact. Nevertheless, these are not fatal.

Inevitably, I am going to lock myself out of my house or run my car out of gas. A friend is going to back out on something mutually planned. In all of my organizing for an event, I will overlook an important detail. I will get lost or have to turn around when I’m in a hurry. A dearly loved family member will misunderstand me or doubt my words. I will forget something on my to do or grocery shopping list. Or perhaps, I’ll lose a beloved pet, get laid off at a job, or discover a health concern. These are the facts of life. “Pain is inevitable. Misery is a choice,” I was once told.

Yet, no matter how painful, unexpected, difficult, inconvenient, or awkward the circumstances of life may be, they are rarely fatal. I am guilty all too often of taking life too seriously. I have a choice: to let go of my expectations and laugh at myself or the craziness of the circumstance. Like a centipede bite, symptoms of my discomfort rarely last more than 48 hours. In most cases, when I am willing to take a deep breath and not get so worked up about what I cannot control, everything usually works out as it should. Not to mention, I usually have a great story to tell a friend over which we can share a good laugh.