Using Your Melon
It has been a very long time since I have written a blog here on CCOR, and today, I felt extremely compelled to do so, and so that is precisely what I am doing!
This gorgeous, warm & sunny Saturday afternoon, my grown daughter, Danielle and I went grocery shopping together. I went to her job and picked her up, leaving her car behind. It was a brief trip, primarily to pick up some fresh produce for the week.
As I drove, I took mental note of the splendor that surrounded us. The azure sky that was perfectly adorned with just the right amount of fluffy clouds—clouds that only appeared as if they were being tickled by the palm trees waving in the gentle breeze, the occasional egret beside the road, so many, many things. I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful place!
Danielle, on the other hand was rather bothered by some recent occurrences—one of which included asking recent favor of me, that I failed to give the expected response. She was at least aware that she was having an “off day”—which was great that she was paying attention to that—but knowing is only half of the battle as they say. I just couldn’t quite figure how to help her turn it around at that moment. Of course, it was not for me to do. She needed to realize that she is the one in control of how she feels, and that there isn’t anything anyone else could say or do to properly help.
I have come to realize something extraordinarily important, however, that this situation exquisitely illustrates. Despite the fact that my daughter was upset with me and other things, I did not allow it to change my own current feelings. I have learned that not only am I the only one who is in control of my thoughts, feelings and actions/reactions to people and circumstances-but also that another person’s thoughts, feelings, actions/reactions belong to them and are not for me to internalize as my own. That was a huge lesson for me that took many years of my life to fully grasp. Now that I have it, however, it is more valuable to me than gold.
For the most part, as we went through the store, Danielle was outwardly projecting an image that most would see and admire. My daughter is a very beautiful young woman, as she is told on a very regular basis. However, sometimes she really just holds onto negative things, which creates a great deal of turmoil that lurks just below the attractive facade.
We set about our selections of everything—all the while, she was snippy towards me, and very obviously annoyed. Onlookers only noticed her beautiful sun-kissed blond hair, her perfect physique, and her precious smile that usually lights up her eyes—eyes that are never quite blue, never quite green, but always stunning. Being her mom, however, I can practically see the sparks flying off of her when she is upset.
After she raced about the store, spitting and sputtering most of the way we finally got in the checkout line. I quickly purchased my produce, and went outside to get the car. I knew that she was upset, so my objective was to get her out of the store as soon as possible, so she could get home and relax, and ultimately so could I. I cranked up the a/c, grabbed a nice cold bottle of water from the cooler for each of us, pulled up to the storefront and waited.
After far too many minutes, I wondered what might have been taking so long, as she should have been out much sooner. I peeked into the store to see her lovely eyes far dimmer than the norm, and her smile fully deflated. It was obvious that she was having trouble, even more trouble. Apparently the clerk had difficulty with the register, so she had to move to another register, and the whole process was only further frustrating my already aggravated daughter.
Once we finally got all of our things and set out to return to her car, she relaxed, but only a bit. It was apparent that she was still very troubled, now, not only about whatever was already bothering her, but now this additional situation. After a few other tiny annoyances along the way, she headed back to her home, and I to mine.
After being home for a bit my phone rings, it is my Danielle. “Have you cut into your watermelon yet?” She asked sounding exasperated. “No, I was going to wait until later, why?” “Oh my goodness, it was the most disgusting thing ever!” she exclaimed. “I cut it open and whoosh! A gush of brown nasty water came out!” “What, are you kidding me? We just bought them, they look fine.”
I proceeded to grab my watermelon-reminding myself to picture a watermelon that was ripe, red and delicious. I placed it on the granite cutting board, and picked up my knife—completely expecting a luscious melon to be revealed to me. Low and behold, that was precisely what was there! The familiar scent filled my nostrils and I was grateful.
As we talked, I continued to cut the rest of my melon, as I had purchased it to juice, and now that it was started I figured I might just as well finish it. My daughter decided to send me a picture of it, so we hung up the phones so she could do so. As I finished cutting the melon, I noticed within the red flesh a whitish outline that resembled a heart! She called me after I received her nasty picture, and I told her what I had found. Of course, I had to send her a picture.
There we were together having vastly different experiences. We went in the same car, inches apart, shopped in the same store at the same time, each of us picked a melon out of the same bin, and produced completely different results.
I have been in a flow of re-discovery as of late—the path I started back nearly four years ago when I started at CCOR, and my lovely daughter has been jumping in and out of a cyclone of turmoil—often grabbing hold of me and trying to drag me into it with her. I continue to assure her of my love, but also remind her that I love myself, and can’t join her. Even though she has had some amazingly wonderful things occur lately, she is still stuck, spiraling downward with each not lovely thing that she allows herself to focus on. Perhaps this watermelon experience will help her to stop and think before she dives into that cyclone.
Whatever happens, I am certain that she will not soon forget this experience—not only because she was profoundly disgusted by her rotten melon, but also because she was truly able to see the contrast between our “shared” experience. Hopefully, she at least retains the moral of this story...Sometimes, in life, you have to use your heart to guide you, others, well; I guess you just have to use your melon :-)