Horrible Experiences: Just Making Room for the Good Stuff

Mom plays at the Bay Point Marriott (with camera phone) while Photographer Daughter shoots a wedding nearby.

When you’re in the middle of a horrible experience, it’s hard to remind yourself that it’s making room for the good stuff coming that wouldn’t have a place to settle into your life otherwise.  As much as I don’t like losing people or situations in my life, I do believe that when we’re no longer attuned or aligned with the people or situations, they will…they MUST…exit our lives.  We can focus on how terrible the loss is or we can open our arms and welcome the gains that are coming to us.

As much as I dislike the Bible story of Job–how can all his loved ones be replaced?! and why would a loving God do this as part of a wager!–I do understand Job being blessed many times over with the new things that came into his life.  Few of us volunteer to lose the things we are so attached to, though, regardless of the exponential blessings that might be in store for us.

This is an observation best made after the horrible experience and the wonderful new blessings, because generally our emotions are too fragile during the horribleness to even think about the blessings.  Now, so soon after one such experience, I can only smile.

A lot can happen in two months, if you let it. Less than two months ago, I was faced with losing my relationship with my younger daughter.  There are not that many parents of teens I know who have great relationships with their kids–I almost always hear the opposite from colleagues, friends, and even strangers in the grocery store.  I’ve been very grateful to have two amazing daughters who are beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, talented, and just about every other positive adjective I can imagine.  So when I am feeling so blessed with such loving relationships with my kids and someone messes with that?  It eclipses any good feelings I have for the person or persons threatening irrevocable damage to those blessings.    A moment of drama for someone else can give that person a passing thrill, but the damage done is permanent and at a critical point in a young adult’s life.  So of course, I’m going to fight that, and I’m blessed to have had others like my older daughter and my new friend Karen to step in and show her the truth from a more objective point of view.

Two months ago, my daughter’s mentor put her in a situation where she felt she had to choose between him and me because I chose to end my personal relationship with him.  She initially chose her friendship with him because, well, Mom’s always gonna love her no matter what and where else could she find a mentor on such short notice?  Fortunately, she was able to spend a week with her big sister at college, with her sister’s friends, away from the situation and able to gain a little perspective.  It was a horrible experience for her, not just to lose her mentor and friend and to upset her mother, but to feel betrayed and used by someone she’d trusted.   Such experiences can taint a romantic  idealist’s view on men, fidelity, and  relationships.

But for as horrible as the experience was, things changed for her very quickly.  Once she decided not to try to hold onto him either as a friend or a mentor,  new doors opened.  It didn’t take two months, either.  Maybe two weeks.

Almost immediately after she returned from her visit with her sister, my daughter met a young woman in her 20’s who has become a wonderful new mentor and friend.  This new mentor trades off work with her, shows her new techniques, goes with her on excursions to practice together, lends her equipment, and shows no signs  of subterfuge.  She’s a professional without a lot of experience but a lot of enthusiasm.

My daughter is also now working with a top notch professional less than an hour away, a new mentor who was my best friend as a girl and has recently reconnected with me.  It’s a sweet sense of coming full circle, and I love to watch them working together.  My daughter is learning so much, stretching so far.

She’s also developed contacts with two more mentors, for specific projects.  I can’t help but grin when I see how happy she is with all these new mentors, each of whom brings something new to her skills and offers exciting new challenges.   Mom is very proud of her, and oh-so-pleased with the new people coming into her life.

Her cup of mentors runneth over now, and she doesn’t even miss her first mentor.  At all.  Why should she?  She’s far too busy with all these new opportunities.