I am a social media fanatic and spend way too much time perusing the likes of Facebook and Instagram. I find myself quickly scrolling through most of what is posted these days as unfortunately, there is so much hatred, anger and discontent that it makes me feel sad and disheartened.
But every now and then a post will hit me and I find myself reading it and agreeing to the point my head fiercely nods yes over and over again. And most often, it is the simplest statement.
On Tuesday, it was this sentence: “We can’t always change what happens around us, but we can change how we react.”
YES! This is it.
The words came from my friend, Tiffany. As she sat inside her home northwest of Alexandria quarantining, waiting for her COVID test results, she found out that area elementary students would be transitioning to distance learning. This impacts her family. She also talked about how her son more than likely tore his ACL. And she posted about the potential for businesses to be shut down again, which would directly impact her as she owns a business. She would once again feel the powerful sting of a shutdown.
But Tiffany said she was trying to remind herself that everyone would be OK. That everything would be OK.
And then she said, “We can’t always change what happens around us, but we can change how we react.”
YES! She nailed it.
She said she is bummed for her children’s teachers because these changes are challenging for them, too. But they have no control over it. She is sad for healthcare workers who are busting their tails off, and she is heartbroken for every family that is making difficult decisions about whether or not they will gather together for the holidays.
We had plans to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s family – my amazing extended family – but we all made that difficult decision to not gather. We all decided to have our own Thanksgivings – apart from one another in our own homes with our own families.
Frankly, it sucks, but I am choosing not to get angry about it. We – my husband and I – are choosing to make the most of it. We will still hopefully have family interaction through Zoom, which I know is not the same, but it is better than nothing. There will still be jokes and laughter and fun and that is what matters. There will still be turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Those traditions will still be there.
We cannot change what is happening around us, but we can definitely choose how we react.
What good does it do to sit around and mope or be angry and place blame where it doesn’t even belong? As my mother frequently said in the last year of her life, “It is what it is.” And she almost always had a large smile on her face while saying it.
The thing is, my mom was right. It is what it is.
Tiffany asked her friends to try their best to react with love and kindness no matter what as we all navigate our way through this crazy world we are now living in.
And I couldn’t agree more.
She posted a quote from Thomas S. Monson that said, “As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with more love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”
I like it. And I am going to try my hardest to live by that rule.
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.