Life Lessons in Self-Pity

It was a day filled with silly petty annoyances.  A friend hurt my feelings, and everything seemed to go wrong.  I failed at something that I had thought I already had conquered.   By the end of the day, so many things had gone wrong, I was in a puddle of tears.

So, I did what always makes me feel better, I went for a ride.  The sky grew dark, and I knew from the weather forecast that a storm was soon approaching.

I was remembering seeing Singing in the Rain with my mom when I was little.  She said that when we left the theater, I was dancing in the puddles all the way home.  Wish I could be that happy little person again.  I haven't been dancing in the puddles lately, just complaining about the rain.
I decided to wait out the rain, so I stopped by our local book store, which is filled with shelves and shelves of wonderful Christian and inspirational books.  I browsed through some shelves and found one I liked, which I knew would feed my spirit.

Then I went over to the magazine section and grabbed a Victorian Bliss, which always feeds my visual senses.
But it was when I was in the wedding book aisle, that I was stopped dead in my tracks.  I was gleaning inspiration for Sarah's wedding in September.   Just beyond the aisle, a book club was being conducted.  Fifteen or so people sat in a circle as the leader talked about their assigned book.

It was no ordinary book club.  Everyone sitting in the circle had some sort of handicap.  I tucked back in the aisle where I had been and eavesdropped.  My heart felt so cleansed as I heard all of these wonderful people overcoming their personal adversity.  Some were struggling to read the words, others were trying to contain their external over excitement.   Suddenly I knew that I was right smack in the middle of a life lesson.

I stopped feeling sorry for myself immediately, and went to grab a cup of coffee and read through my purchases.  With a cup of coffee in one hand and a scone in the other, I felt a sense of relief.

The coffee shop portion of this book shop is elevated, and you need to go up a few steps or walk up the ramp.  I chose a seat at the top level.

As I glanced down there was a woman who had been in the book club.  She was using one of those motorized wheelchairs.  All of a sudden she left her table and rode up the ramp.  She stopped at the station where you leave your trays.  She proceeded to put her garbage in the trash and lay her tray down.  It wasn't easy, and I knew better than to offer any help.  She was feeling quite independent, I could tell. She then proceeded to go back down the ramp, pick up her parcels from the table and leave the shop.

No self-pity, no complaining, just doing the best she could and feeling good about herself.

I left the book shop with a new lease on life, and feeling terribly ashamed that I had even entertained any self-pity at all.

The rain had stopped outside and the gloom in my spirit was gone as well.  On the way home I enjoyed the most glorious sunset.

When I came home, I sat right down and wrote this post to share my day with you.  I don't fall into puddles of tears and self-pity that often since I traveled over the bridge to Menopause twenty plus years ago.  I am usually a steady-as-you-go person.  Yesterday reminded me that no matter how bad a day I might have, there are bigger problems in the world to conquer, and braver souls who carry their burdens effortlessly and with a smile.

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.  
In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, 
so you can know who you are, 
what you can rise from, 
how you can still come out of it."
Maya Angelou

June said...

What an awesome post Karen and I feel so blessed to have stopped by tonight to read your heart!
hugs from here...

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Thank you for this uplifting and encouraging post ~ FlowerLady

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I love reading you.

There is so much here to comment on, but I have to say that I am on the bridge to menopause; I thought I was going through it, but I think it's not over yet! The emotions that rise and fall and place me in an area that I usually don't dwell in are unpredictable, and can come on suddenly. Just early this week, I declared to my husband in tears, "I DON'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS!" And while I don't have a ton of friends at the ready here, I do have friends. But that self-pity is dangerous, but leave it to GOD and life itself, to instruct us. Karen, you taught me how to blog. Your prose is poetry, your line breaks, your introductions and endings are what I observed and learned to do. Thank you for recounting your day in a way that reads like a poem.

Dance in the puddles Karen...we are never, ever too old. Love, Anita

Snap said...

Gorgeous ... walk on!

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Dear Karen, Reading your post was the perfect way to start my day. The life lesson here is so inspirational and reminds us that no matter how bad we think our path gets, there are those having bigger struggles. God placed you right where you needed to be to comfort your heart and lift your spirit. What a blessing my friend. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us. You have brightened my day with this lesson.
Love the quotes, the photos and you!!

Vee said...

Self-pity is crippling; however, saying the truth is freeing. What I love is that you did what you knew would nurture and, in the process, you were open for the lesson that you sweetly shared here. Thank you, Dear Heart.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your victorious day with us, Karen. All of it is part of being what we were formed to be...perfectly human while being molded into the image of Christ. Long ago I stopped blaming such things on hormones or God forbid, womanhood...because we are so much more than our challenges, we are His Masterpiece, and our challenges are part of the shaping and molding. I also stopped blaming it on self-pity. It is simply part of the ups and downs, twists and turns of life, and for someone like me, passionate about ALL of it, it can be quite a ride. Womanhood and the road to eternity is spectacular, my friend, impossible to trivialize. Go on enjoying the journey...rain, sunshine, tears, laughter, challenges and all. It all adds up to victory, something we already possess.