Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pivotal Moments

Psychology says that everyone has a minimum of five pivotal events in their lives. Two or three of those happen before the age of 21 as one reaches adulthood; the rest? There's no timeline. 

I can remember one pivotal event from my childhood as though it were yesterday--the first one of my life to my memory. I was about 11 or 12 years old and I was playing outside with my best friend Cindy. A car drove by and she quickly looked over to see who it was and then, she ran and hid behind the house so that the occupants of the car wouldn't see her. I stood there, puzzled. When she came back out as the car had driven out of sight, I asked her what that was about. "Well," she said, a little hesitant, "that was Theresa from school. I told her that I don't play with you and I don't her to know that I lied."


I froze in time, speechless. That moment of realizing...

...your best friend doesn't have your back afterall...she threw me under the bus.

I was young then, and we moved shortly thereafter. But that experience shaped me. When it comes to friendship, I have a strong code of loyalty. And if a "friend" isn't loyal? Well, I have a really difficult time getting past it. It tends to be a deal-breaker for me. 

The second pivotal moment is quite minor...but it, too, was life changing. When Roy and I first got married, we moved to Colorado and lived in a small, two-bedroom duplex. Roy and I came from opposite sides of the track when it comes to organization. Roy was raised in a home that was spotless, organized; I was not. I tended to be one of those people that, once I entered the house with my "stuff", my "stuff" threw up all over the house. 

And then once a week I cleaned. But those other 6 days? Well, they weren't cleaning days!

And then our beautiful, wonderful friends Kerrie and Ralph Schnell moved in next door to this large 5 bedroom home with their toddler Kylie. Kerrie is the most organized person I've ever known in my life (next to Roy). She and Roy made brilliant working partners as they totally got each other. But what I remember is, Kerrie had her house completely unpacked, pictures hung, boxes put away, in a whopping seven days. I went over to visit a week after they moved in and it looked as though they'd lived there forever.


And then one day Kerrie visited my house. She casually walked inside, only to find me buried in the midst of textbooks and papers and various other objects in my small living room. And as I looked around at what Kerrie was viewing--seeing everything through new eyes--well, I was filled with shame. And in that moment, I vowed to change. That will never happen again.

I well remember sitting "at the feet of Kerrie Schnell" and learning the ropes of organized housekeeping. She told me how she never went to bed without the living room picked up so that the first thing that greeted her in the morning was a clean house. When laundry came out of the dryer, she immediately folded it (I'm still working on that one). When she cooked dinner, she cleaned as she went so that by the time she served it, the countertops were clean. And dishes were done before she served dessert.

I soaked it all in and began to make changes in my life little by little. I'm by no means a Kerrie Schnell when it comes to housekeeping...but I am certainly better than those early days of marriage.

I have had other epiphanies throughout my life, of course--many more. I think I have had my share of pivotal moments that steers one's life in a slightly different direction. But I am grateful for those lessons. Oftentimes they aren't easy--they have a tendency to bring pain in their midst. But they bring growth and depth and a greater understanding of how to live life during our trek on this earth.

And I am thankful for that.

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