When I was in Girl Guides I always hated the Guide Law that stated ‘A guide smiles and sings, even under difficulty.’ I can see the value in the be-cheerful-keep-your-spirits-up sort of mentality it implies and sure, sheer grumpiness might make a bad situation worse sometimes but given that I will power through, I wanted the freedom to power through in whatever mood I wanted.
My own personal version of that law became ‘If you can’t smile, then try not to throw up.’ – much more do-able for me. And while I couldn’t articulate it at the time, I think part of my irritation came from the feeling the as a girl, I was supposed to be sweet and kind and never angry or upset. Perhaps that’s not what the writer of the law intended, but I get that feeling from it even now. *shudder*
I hate those sorts of sayings*, a pat little description of how someone is supposed to behave without any reflection on the individual circumstances.
One I’m struggling with right now is ‘Start as you mean to finish.’
How the hell am I supposed to do that when I don’t know what the end is going to look like yet?
Sure, I can see how it’s consistency is valuable, and I can see that it would be good to know where you’re going before you start but it’s not always possible – and it can really cause someone like me (always looking for the perfect system) to get stuck because I can’t start the way I ‘should’.
How does starting the way the way I mean to finish allow for growth? How does it address the changes and obstacles that alter our plans?
Sure, I’m probably asking too much of a saying, but I expect a lot of words and this group is failing me.
I have a lot of big plans for this year, but I’m not starting as I mean to finish. I’m starting where I am and seeing what happens. I’ll aim for consistency, work toward finishing my projects, but I refuse to get so caught up in the method that I can’t do the practice.
I have no idea how I’ll finish – so I’m going to start as I mean to start – one tree at a time.**
* Another one that gets me is the one about how God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. That actually hurts my teeth. Seriously? So much presumption and shut-up and take it, all in a few words. Sure, on the one hand it’s telling you that you have the strength to make it through, but it also makes it sound like you were given this trouble because you’re strong. Grrr.
** You remember, of course, that I have a backward forest and trees problem – it’s not that I can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s that I forget the forest is made of trees and I only see that giant, scary, dark mass and think I have no way to deal with it.