March 6, 2015
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
|* The Butterfly Effect was created as a fundraiser for the Baltimore Love Project. The love shadow is a graphic created by artist Michael Owen who has added it to 20 walls all around Baltimore. http://www.baltimoreloveproject.com/|
My gift today began very early this morning when a stone was hurled at me in the form of a scathing email, motivated by someone whose photograph was rejected. The writer lashed out at my photography group and personally attacked me.
As a former middle school teacher, I have out of necessity grown thick skin. Students threw daily barbs at their teachers but we still loved them. After all, they were trying to survive, what was for some of them, the most tumultuous time in their lives. However, I do not expect this behavior from other adults. I remember one father whose son was having a difficult time in seventh grade. No wonder—his parents were going through a divorce and he was the rope in their tug-of-war game. The father blamed my team and me for his son not turning in homework and for his failing grades. The dad threatened to report me to the Board of Education. My response, “I am truly sorry you feel this way. Certainly you have a right to go to the Board of Ed, but I can tell you that I am doing absolutely the best job I can with your son.” A few weeks later, the father personally apologized to me as he began to understand his misplaced anger.
The email today reminded me that often people rant and strike out at others because of something unrelated. The email writer’s anger and approach could be similar to the father’s, blaming someone else for an unrelated failure. However unpleasant her emails were, I embrace them as a reminder that I must always keep things in perspective. Most of my life, I’ve had two ways of doing this.
- The Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
- The deathbed concept: When I am on my deathbed, it will not matter what I own or if I had to wait in a long line or that cable service went down for a day or that I had a photo rejected. What will matter is my love of family and friends, my actions toward others and knowing that even in my imperfection, I have truly done my best. I know that how I treat others is important because I have heard from so many people about how I have made a positive difference in their lives. And I am thankful for this.
My gift today is a stone that metamorphosed into an important reminder.
* In the Chaos Theory, the butterfly effect suggests that a very small change one place can result in very big changes elsewhere.
You can read my other posts on this project here: