When I think of the most prolific and relevant life lessons, I always refer to the story of David and the Giant Goliath which is my favourite story out of the good book. God knows I love a classic tale of the proverbial underdog coming to kick some big dog behind.
There is that, and, you know how people say “there is light at the other end of the tunnel” whenever you are going through a rough patch and they can’t quite figure out the correct way of expressing their sympathy. Yeah, it’s a cliché alright; one that I have since realised is really true, well most of the time anyway.
Here’s how I figured it out;
It was some time ago but not too long. This was to be my first time of flying on an aeroplane. Yes I was excited, nervous and maybe a wee bit scared. Nerves aside I woke up, from a restless slumber never the less, to a nippy, wet day. Murphy’s Law, on the day I was to fly on a real aeroplane the universe decided to hand me a hand of miserable weather. I had lost out on the good weather lottery. Despite the moody weather, I decided, yes consciously decided to be in a great mood. There was no way I was about to fly on an aeroplane for the first time in a foul mood. Helloooo! Come on now! I was going to be in the air, if anything, ‘God forbid’ were to happen I wanted to ‘go’ happy! So eventually, armed with a borrowed copy of ‘Long Walk To Freedom’ I got to the airport, checked in, boarded, figured out how to work the seat belt all by myself and then settled in for the 2 hour flight. The whole time I was thinking it would have been jolly good fun if it wasn’t raining so that I could maybe catch a glimpse of my house from the air! And then it was, Take off!
So as I’m sitting there in my seat trying to stop myself from looking around the whole time, one cannot begin to imagine the delight I felt when I looked out of the window. Was it sunshine, yes it was sunshine dancing cheerily on the large blobs of floating cotton candy. It must have been only three minutes into the flight but I tell you I sat there wondering if we were out of Cape Town already, ‘Geez, planes are really fast’ I sat there thinking to myself. Then I started trying to apply what I had learnt in all my past Geography lessons, ok I knew where rain came from, how it was formed but I ashamedly always imagined it coming from somewhere higher up above the clouds. So with the sun shining and me pleased as punch, I proceeded to shove my borrowed copy of ‘The long walk to freedom’ under the seat in front of me and unrelentlessly stared out of my tiny window for the rest of my flight. The sun was out!
In hindsight, I applauded myself for bringing a thick book to read in case of boredom. I realise I saved myself a whole lot of worrying. Just like with most things that take up worry space in our lives. We start worrying long before the actual worrying stuff begins. We occupy ourselves with so much worry that it leaves us unable to focus and deal with the real issues that cause that same worry. We forget that there is indeed light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. When things go wrong as they sometimes do, productivity is then at its lowest because we lose hope and faith in ourselves and all seems dark and gloomy. It’s as if someone switched off the lights when they know I’m afraid of the dark. No matter how dire the situation gets, when we take time to break it down, categorically prepare and then have the stamina and diligence to hang on through the seemingly trying times always working hard, fighting through works like a bomb to make things infinitely better.
Some clever person once said, “successful people know the difference between patience and procrastination”. You do know that worrying is a form of procrastination, right? And it never hurt anyone’s chances to have a bit of inspiration or a support system on call. When things are going not so good and it is dark in my tunnel, me being claustrophobic and afraid of the dark, I light little candles along my tunnel wall by remembering previous triumphant experiences.