Dancing Barefoot in the Flood

If there’s one thing I’ve learned for sure, it’s that nothing is ever for sure. My life is ever-changing and totally unpredictable… and I love it. Every day is a new adventure, full of new experiences and new people – I never know what to expect!

My motto in life has always been “just go with the flow”, which is really easy for me because it comes naturally. I tend to be very calm about anything and everything, and I take my life one day at a time – this also means that I am really bad at planning and thinking ahead (sorry, mom). The only problem with this kind of response to life is that, while it makes the good days really good, it makes the bad days really bad. Because when you “go with the flow” of life, you have no control over the waves you’ll be riding.

I didn’t realize that this was a problem for a really long time. I convinced myself that it was normal to have good days and bad days, that there was nothing I could do about it, and that it would be this way forever (because, after all, if everyone else lives like this, it must be okay, right? WRONG!).

I’ve have learned so much over this past year, it’s ridiculous – about life, love, loss, heartbreak, friendship, and so much more. One of the most important lessons that I have been (and still am) learning is this: I don’t have to do what everyone else does. I have a CHOICE in who I am and how I live my life. Did you get that? Because this is SO important. Here, let me say it for you: YOU don’t have to do what everyone else does. YOU have a CHOICE in who you are and how you live your life.

WOW! Isn’t that awesome? I wish I would’ve learned this lesson a loooong time ago (like when I was in my awkward middle/high school years). I’m still learning how to walk in this truth, because it’s not easy stepping away from the “status-quo” and being your own person. One of the biggest things that I have learned so far is that it’s not always best to “go with the flow” – sometimes you have to fight “the flow”. My bad days do not have to be bad days. My life is totally what I make of it, and that means that it’s up to me to CHOOSE how I respond. I have to CHOOSE forgiveness. I have to CHOOSE patience. I have to CHOOSE kindness. I have to CHOOSE JOY.

Story Time: I work at a dog kennel. It’s an awesome job (for the most part), and to answer a frequently asked question: yes, I do get to play with cute dogs all day (when I’m not doing intense physical labor or dealing with crazy dog owners). Anyways, our story takes place as I was nearing the end of a 9-hour shift – I had been at work since 9AM and it had been a pretty good day, but I was excited to go home. It was about 5:15 and I was happy because all of my work was done and I was so close to going home for the night – I had my Netflix movie picked out, and my leftovers in the fridge waiting on me. Then, the flashfloods started.

When we have had thunderstorms in the past, we experience a little bit of flooding in our entryway, but we are usually able to clear it up quickly with a squeegee and a Shop-Vac. But this time was different. This was the mother of all flashfloods and it took our entire lobby underwater. So just picture this: me and one other girl trying to squeegee all 4 inches of water out of the lobby, into our tiny Shop-Vac which has to be dumped every 5 minutes OUTSIDE, water continuing to come in by the second (at this point, it’s not just in the lobby but in all of the hallways) AND trying to help customers who were trying to pick up their dogs. Somebody should have recorded the whole thing, because it would have gone viral (one of our clients took off his shoes, rolled up his pant-legs and waded BAREFOOT through our lobby – not kidding).

Needless to say, I think that this qualified as one of those really bad days I was talking about earlier. And if this had happened a year ago, I would have let this one incident ruin my whole night because that’s where “going with the flow” would have gotten me. But instead, I laughed. Because when I took a step back and looked at the situation, it was hilarious. In that moment, I chose joy and laughter and peace in the midst of the storm, instead of succumbing to it.

To keep the rest of this long story short: we got all of the water cleaned up, the dogs safely tucked in for the night, and out of our sopping wet clothes. I went home and ate my leftovers and watched my Netflix movie, and all was right with the world. I think that this story would have had a very different ending if I would have been content to just “go with the flow”. I probably would have gone home and ranted to my poor family for hours, complaining about poor, pitiful me and I would have gone into work today with a horrible attitude expecting people to feel sorry for me. But instead, today was one of those really good days because I made a choice. I CHOOSE JOY.

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