Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary
destiny.”  Trying times can threaten to
overcome us in the moment, but if we endure, they can often result in great
blessings.  This month, I want to share a
personal story to provide hope and laughter as we push towards the last quarter
of 2017.
a year ago, my daughter Katie’s dwarf hamster got out of her cage.  If any of you have ever had one of these
little buggers, then you know that they run fast and can flatten themselves in
a New York minute to escape!  Here is the
e-mail I sent her that depicts the evening events and the humor and blessings
that come from hardships.
Katie, last
night was a tough night for us, but through the pain, your amazing little soul
shined bright.  Your precious little hamster Minnie escaped her
cage.  I had been on your case to fill up her food bowl and finally I said,
“You must fill up her bowl tonight.”  I was failing to remember that she
was your responsibility, not mine, and it was not my place to take
charge.  You asked for my help and I said no because I needed to
order more Girl Scout cookies for you.  While I was on the phone I noticed
you scrambling around the living room.
When I hung up
you notified me that Minnie had escaped.  We were able to corner her but
she successfully pulled a Houdini and disappeared.  What happened next
makes me ashamed and I am sorry.  Your mommy threw a full-blown temper
tantrum.  I yelled, screamed, banged my hands against the wall and just
flat out lost my SH#%!  After several minutes and you bawling I calmed
down and asked you to go put on your PJ’s, I tucked your sister in bed, then we
looked for Minnie for another 30 minutes.  We were unsuccessful in finding
her so we got on our knees in the living room and we prayed together, then we
wrote notes to God asking for his help in returning Minnie.  While I was
snuggling with you I asked for your forgiveness at my tantrum.  You seemed
to understand and told me that you knew that I loved you and that you loved
Minnie and that’s why I was on your case about feeding her.  I hope that
is what you remember and not how your mommy behaved.  I asked you if there
was anything I could do to calm you down and you said to “just snuggle with
me.”  I then asked if there was anything anyone else ever did that made
you feel better and you said, “Mom, love is what you create not what you
imitate, just do what you do and I’ll know you love me.”   Wow—was I
ever inspired!
I didn’t sleep
at all—not because Minnie was on the loose but because I kept replaying my behavior.
I was tired and stressed and that’s a recipe for anger with me.  The
serenity prayer kept playing over and over in my mind until about 4:00 a.m. I
realized at that hour that I could not change the fact that your hamster got
out but I could change how I reacted to future events (because there would be
others) and that wisdom can only come from experiences.
At 6:00 a.m. I
rose and began making lunches, filling backpacks and completing chores for the
morning.  Your dad was on a trip so it was just me. When it came time for
you and your sister to eat breakfast, I turned around to get juice from the
refrigerator and stepped in a big poop courtesy of our beloved and very old lab
who had recently begun to lose control of where he poops!  Instead of
losing my sh#%, I calmly wiped it off, got more tissue to pick up the other deposits
and went to put them in the toilet.  At that time, a miracle happened: I
spotted Minnie! I yelled for you to come with a blanket and her ball and
together we caught her!  Once we put her back in her cage, we both hugged
and thanked God for answering our prayer request.  We were both so happy
we were shaking!  Then you giggled and looked up at me and said, “Good
thing Stoli dropped his poop in the kitchen otherwise we would have never gone
into the bathroom.”  I love that you saw the silver lining in the
situation. At that moment, I knew you were going to be just fine.


After dropping
you off at school, while driving to the office, I thought about the life lesson
we learned from bad situations:  Sometimes in life we have to walk through
Sh#% in order to get our prayers answered.  I hope you remember
this.  Life is full of ups and downs, but we are never alone. Praying and
letting go is a very powerful tool.