My boss said this today during a meeting. Everyone kind of smirked and giggled at the cheesiness of this phrase, myself included. But still, the comment lingered in my mind all day long, until the meaning really set in: Control the situation. Don't let it control you
As of late, I've embraced the "Bah humbug" attitude of Ebineezer Scrooge. I've become unsympathetic, uncaring, and grumpy. A little has to do with the days getting shorter. A little has to do with work. A little has to do with the time of year. But today, what my boss said during his soap box monologue really got me thinking. Have I been letting life control me? Absolutely. It seems that lately I've been letting other people's words and actions, not to mention the season, dictate how I feel.
The holidays have never been a good time for me. I've come to associate Thanksgiving and Christmas with my husband's death. I try
to stay positive during this time of year, but I can't help but feel a bit lonely when December rolls around. This week, in particular, is not a good one for me...tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of DJ's death. So as you can imagine, he's been on my mind a bit lately. Now normally, when I think of him, I think of his smile, his laughter, his cheerful disposition. But he died a very long, hard, and painful death, just 2 days after his parents and I decorated the Christmas tree, and just 1 day after I finished addressing the last Christmas card to be mailed out to our friends and family. So it's really hard for me to not
associate the hard parts of his life with Christmas trees, or Christmas ornaments, or Christmas cards. And as we all know, there's no escaping all the Christmas junk during this oh-so-cheerful time of year. (Please note sarcasm in the last part of that sentence.)
DJ had no control over his cancer. That was the one aspect of his life he could not change. But in essence, he still acted as the "thermostat" of his own life. He was never dying
from cancer, but rather living
He never let the disease dictate what he could or could not do with his life. When the doctor told him, "If you have any plans for the summer, you should cancel them. You'll be dead by then." DJ replied, "Wanna bet? I'm gonna graduate from school and then get married. I'll send you an invitation to both ceremonies. Be there or be square." When the doctor said, "Your tumor has come back and I'm afraid that we've exhausted all of our options for treatment." DJ replied, "Then The Merry Wife and I will move to Texas and find a doctor at the biggest, baddest, cancer center
in all the nation." When the brain tumor paralyzed the right side of DJ's body and he could no longer draw (he was an architect) he applied for graduate school to earn a degree in something that "doesn't require me to use my hands." And when he finally accepted his defeat with cancer, he turned to me and said, "Soon, you might not be able to see me, but I will always be here to take care of you."
So today, on the eve of DJ's death day (for lack of a better term,) when my boss said, "Be the thermostat, not a thermometer!" I took note. I didn't
roll my eyes, like the rest of my coworkers did. I instead, wrote the quote down in my notebook and reflected on it throughout the day. And by the time I got around to writing an entry in this poor neglected blog of mine, I had decided that today will be the day that I become a thermostat. Today I will decorate my Christmas tree. Today I will start addressing my Christmas cards. Today I will sing Christmas carols, and bake Christmas cookies, and remember that even though it might be cold outside (yes, it's actually cold here today, in Houston -- 30 degrees tonight!!!) I have the power to turn on the heater, light up a fire in my fireplace, and keep myself warm.
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