Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Week Twenty-Four - It Is What It Is

     “It is what it is.  It becomes what you make of it.” 
     I saw these two sentences on a plaque above the doorway in a little house where we were staying in St Louis.  The idea captured my thoughts for several days as I began applying it to various situations.
     First, I thought of where we were staying.  It was a cute little house in an older community.  The house has been updated, but it had some drawbacks.  I could choose to mutter under my breath or enjoy the time and the company around me.  I chose to let it become what I made of it—a great few days!
     Later that week we made a visit to my family farm, the place holding all my childhood memories. As we drove down the lanes and pulled up to the now empty houses, my heart sank.  I didn’t realize I had been away so long and was not prepared for the decay before my eyes.  With trees growing wildly in the front yard and a sagging porch roof, my grandmother’s house showed no sign of life. “It is what it is.  It becomes what you make of it,” I heard in my mind.  What was it?  Empty.  Old.  Vacant.  What was I going to make of it? 
     Well, initially I found my eyes welling with tears and my voice starting to crack.  I struggled to take in the absence of life and the finality of the passing of my family.  It took a while, but I faced up to the facts and knew that though today the places looked empty, my memories were not.  The joy, the meals, the love, and the fun we all experienced as we grew up in those beloved houses were vivid.  Decay could not steal those memories.  I chose to appreciate the memories and accept that time passes relentlessly for us all.
     This past week I spent some special time with my grandchildren.  Again, I heard those words.  “It is what it is.  It becomes what you make of it.”  I knew my time was limited.  Soon we would be returning to the mission field and many months would pass before I saw any of them again.  I remembered when my grandson, Titus asked me a few years ago, “Grandma, why do you have to live so far away in England?” 
     I choked back the tears and told him, “Well, sweetheart, that is just the way God has planned it.”  I wasn’t sure how he would take my answer, but he leaned in close with a precious hug and said, “Grandma, that’s awesome.”  It is what it is.  It becomes what I make it.  I choose to make it an amazing thing.  A God thing.  And I choose to help my grandchildren to see it that way, too.
    There are so many of life’s situations that demand we choose to accept the facts and create the best possible outcome.  It is all a matter of our outlook.
     As God would have it, I started another old book yesterday, and it started out with this same theme.  In his anthology, Good in Everything, H.L. Gee writes: “During the Second World War I was greatly impressed by something a girl said.  She was compelled to leave her home, her own town, and the profession she loved, in order to work in a munition factory over a hundred miles away.  The night before she left for her new task she looked in to see us.  “And what do you think of it all?” I asked.  She made a little face; and then, with a smile, she said: “Oh, I shall get along quite well, I think.  You see, I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to like it.  It was one of the most sensible and gallant things of the war, and it reminded me of the profound truth which Shakespeare borrowed from the ancient Greeks and passed on to us in a dozen memorable words:  There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (p 1)
     It is what it is.  It becomes what you make of it.  Is there something in your life you need to grasp and face with a determination to look for the better side?  Maybe it’s a situation where your thoughts and attitude need to change?  Or, something you need to stop resisting and accept as a tool of God in your life?  It will become what you make of it. 

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