Staying in Focus: On Home, Courage, Chance and Change

May the light always find you on  a dreary day.
when you need to be home may you find a way.
May you always have courage to take a chance.
And never find frogs in your underpants.
–  an anonymous Scandinavian

I love this little poem,  The last line always makes me smile , because it is unexpected.  You begin reading and the poem sounds inspirational and encouraging.  “May you find light on a dreary day, when you need a home may you find a way”  brings to mind  arriving at home at the end of a hard day at school, soaking wet, cold and miserable from the walk between bus stop and the warm, welcoming, cheery brightness of our kitchen.   We change clothes, dry and warm now and sit at the table with a cup of hot chocolate or tea to warm the insides.  Equally warming is the sense of being surrounded by family, eager to discuss the days events.  And later, there is nothing finer than curling up with a good book warm and cozy inside, while the sound of rain provides a soothing backdrop.

As Dorothy says in The  Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”  Who among us hasn’t experienced a day so challenging that all we wanted to do was go home. .Anyone who has been hospitalized wants one thing (other than recovery) and that is to go home. We can’t wait to buy that first home, bring a new baby home to it, fill  it with love and laughter through the years. Older people  fear the day when they can no longer  maintain their own home – it is one of the last things in the world we want to let go . The house itself, the physical structure may change (we have had 5 houses),but the  essence of home you carry with you in your heart. .And no matter how humble, it is our refuge, our shelter from the storms of life, and we should always be grateful for our home.

“May you always have courage to take a chance.”  This can be tough, but life is change and change often requires taking a chance.  This is a little easier when we are young and unencumbered by family responsibilities, but we but when the right opportunity comes a long, we hope to have the courage to step up to the plate and take a good swing.

One of my son’s recently lost his job, but being single and a frugal sort of guy, he has enough put away to give himself  a few months to finish a project he has been developing for quite some time, and I admire his courage in  taking  a chance to bring his project to completion,  especially since taking chances is not my strong suit,. But I am taking steps to become more comfortable with chance.  We took a chance recently when we decided to join our friends on a cruise to Alaska.  I’m not real comfortable with flying, but we didn’t have time to drive to Seattle, so we took a chance that the airplanes would all complete their journeys and they did.  We weren’t sure if we’d like the cruise, never having taken one before, but we took a chance, and we ended up having the grandest time of our lives. Taking chances, growing and changing , that’s living. We should be grateful for all living entails.

And now to my favorite part, “May you never find frogs in your underpants.”  Now this begs the question, do Scandinavians  in general have a problem with this?  I’d like to know because Scandinavia is one of the places we’d like to see on a future cruise.  So I’d just like to be prepared (for the CHANCE  I might find frogs in my lingerie).

But what I really enjoy about this line is that it is unexpected, and the unexpected events in our lives can be  the best kind.  An unexpected visit from old friends, an unexpected letter or package in the mail from your Grams, an unexpected phone call from a grandson thanking you for a birthday gift, an unexpected day free of heat and humidity in the middle of July in North Carolina, or an unexpected snowfall on Christmas Eve in Cary, NC (this one I’m still waiting for).  These events do not have to be on the grand scale of life events.  The mere fact that they;re unexpected make them precious.

Of course, not all events that are unexpected are positive ones – the job layoff, the diagnosis of illness,or the loss of a loved one, but each of these events builds our courage and challenge us to grow and change and yes, maybe take a chance – with a new career, participating in clinical trials to help in the development of treatments for our illness, starting a charity or fund in the name of our loved one to help others fight their disease – the unexpected can affect and change us in a myriad of ways.

And no matter what the unexpected has in store for us, there’s always that light, shining through the window, welcoming us home.

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