Yesterday I came across a story that I thought was pretty neat. It was about a young bride during the time of WW2. Her new husband had been assigned to an Army base in the dessert of California and she insisted on going with him. Her family tried to convince her she'd be more happy at home back east but there would be no changing her mind.
The only place available for them to live was in a run down little cabin near an Indian village. Her husband was gone for weeks at a time and she was left to face the harsh desert conditions alone. She felt that she had nothing in common with the Indian women of the village so she kept her distance. It wasn't long before desperation with living conditions and loneliness set in. She wrote to her mother saying that she wanted to come home. A short time later she received an answer. Her mother simply wrote these words:
Two men looked through prison bars;
One saw mud, the other saw stars.
The young bride read the words over and over again and made an important decision. She made up her mind to see the stars in her situation instead of focusing on the mud. As she did this it opened up her world to new relationships with the Indian women and their customs. It filled her with hope for her little family's future and gave her a different view of the desert. Not that the desert had changed. It was still the harsh, wild land that she had so hated in the past. But now her attitude was different and that was all that had been standing in the way of her happiness.
I see myself in this little story. For the most part, I am happy with life but there are times when I start to focus on the mud and not the stars. Many times things don't add up the way I would like them to. Especially as a new bride in Mongolia, I came to the realization fast that life is what you make it. Life is not always easy (especially in a 3rd world country) and happy families and happy mothers don't just materialize out of thin air. My attitude and my ability to adapt were going to be tested and I'd better get a grip. This has caused me to grow up even though some days I wanted to hang on to the fantasy rather than see reality. But as I've matured as a wife and a mother I can see how I've acquired a spirit of quiet contentment, even when the mud seems more evident than the stars.
I'm still learning a lot. I am working on not complaining and not worrying about things I cannot change. Life is full of hurts and things that just suck. These things are beyond my control but one thing isn't, and that is my attitude. It's the one thing I can control. And I'm working on that.