Truly Powerful People (439)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Debra decided to be miserable. There was water damage in her apartment and the when the landlord identified the source he found the extent of the damage was much worse than he expected. The repair was nothing short of reconstruction. The work was scheduled to take 45 days. She told me, “I’m going to hate every moment of it. If I can’t control my space I go nuts. I’ll just hate it.” Assigning two “hates” to a single circumstance left no room for doubt: Debra was going to be miserable. Fifteen days into the repair I passed her in the hall and asked how the repair was coming along. Her answer, “I hate it. I hate every moment of it.” I was not surprised. She’d carried the two “hates” into her life just as she’d planned.

Ellen decided that there was nothing she could do. Like many educators she told me she “loathed” the standardization and testing madness that continue to drive the public schools into the dirt. She told me that her children were suffering, the teacher’s were suffering, and the community was suffering. And then she said, “There’s nothing I can do so I just go with it. What else can we do?” “Loathe” is a powerful word. So is “helpless.” Apparently, “helpless” is more powerful than “loathe.”

What is it to loathe and still choose to participate? What is it to decide that you are helpless? What is it to decide to “hate” your experience before you actually have it?

Once, while sitting in the passenger seat of a car spinning out of control on a freeway, time slowed and I closed my eyes because I’d decided that what ever was about to happen was surely going to hurt. I heard the tires squealing and the beating of my heart. And then, nothing; stillness. There was no crunching of metal, no breaking glass or screams of pain. I opened my eyes and saw my brother gripping the steering wheel. We were facing the wrong way and all the cars around us had stopped. We didn’t hit the concrete barriers, other cars, rails, or plunge into the river. We were still. My brother, with his eyes wide open said, “Do want to get a drink?” and then, “Welcome to Kansas City.”

We decided that we were fortunate. We decided that, although losing control of a car on an icy freeway bridge was thrilling, it was only necessary to do it once. We decided that there was a lot we would do differently if circumstance ever presented us with another icy bridge.

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