"You MUST be devastated!"
About a decade ago, a business I owned closed due to fire. In the months that followed well-meaning people repeatedly informed me that I MUST be devastated.
Must I be? Really? I wasn’t.
I knew what they meant, but the phrase never rang true.
Was it a requirement? A matter of course? Good advice?
Over and over, you MUST be devastated!
I wasn’t devastated. I was fine. In fact, I was thankful and appreciative.
My perspective was, and is, that things happen. All the time. They are in and of themselves meaningless. We get to assign meaning to them. So, I’m going to spin everything in my favour.
I’d had fun with my business, but its time was over. I had gained skills, learned lessons and grown. It had run its course. It was done. I was free to move on to the next adventure. I was not aware of this. I would not have left the business. In fact, a month before, I had quit my day job to run it full time. But there were other things in store for me.
That year, I conceived my first child. I was able to stay at home throughout my pregnancy and my children’s early years. With no job to return to and no external distractions, I discovered my passion for mothering. Without that devastating fire, I know I wouldn’t have had the space to immerse myself in the way I did. And for that alone, I am eternally grateful.
I’m intrigued by the power of words. The not-so-hidden meanings behind spell-ings. What does it really mean to be devastated? What is the etymology? In short, from Latin vastus, it is to empty, to leave, to abandon.
Perhaps those people were right. Maybe I was devastated in the best way. I was emptied of the responsibility of business owner. I had to leave, to abandon that part of my story. In order to start a new chapter, the last must end.
In the aftermath of this Tornado, are you feeling devastated?
Perhaps, instead of narrating a tragedy, you could play the part of a curious reader? To be empty of expectation? Instead of filling the void with meaning you could let the tale unfold. Keep turning the pages, one at a time. Later you can look back and read this plot twist from a higher perspective.
Circumstances may spin tornados, but not our stories.
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