Tuesday, January 3, 2017

It (Really!) Is What It Is

In this New Year, I should be making resolutions. As if, at the stroke of midnight, the world will be blessed with a brand new me. (Maybe a resolution about the frequency of this blog?)

Instead, in 2017 I resolve not to bite off more than I can chew. In fact, I might resolve to have my jaw wired shut. To keep my foot from landing in my mouth, of course. And for a weight loss resolution - which, sadly, is needed after a five year burst of self-control.

But enough of self-improvement. Instead, a Christmas gift from my brother, Eagle Scout, has inspired me to write this post:

(Resolve to brush up on my Latin?) Yep. It Is What It Is. In wearable form. Suitably serious color. And startlingly effective at hiding the Christmas cookies I consumed! Love. It.

Wearing this sweatshirt got me thinking about this phrase. In my lawyer days, people said they knew I would say it in a crunch.

Seriously. When the latest legal quagmire invited despair, Ole Bethsquire would, with an absolutely cool head, say "It is what it is."

As in (by way of example only - see Disclaimers below), "A repo guy picked up our car with a baby asleep in the carseat? It is what it is."

This would, of course, be followed by a brilliant strategy derived from my hard-won "think-like-a-lawyer" skills and (thankfully!) the light of the Holy Spirit and a bit of common sense.

"First, GET THE BABY SAFELY HOME TO MOMMA! Next, pursue all lawful means to make this customer our new best friend. And, find local legal counsel. Oh, and never, EVER use that repo guy again."

Those who know me well are scratching their heads and thinking, "Wow -  I never suspected she had a well-adjusted bone in her body!!"

It surprises even me. Got it from my dad.

St. Raymond was a "cut-to-the-chase" guy. As in (with raised eyebrows - very important) "I don't care who started it!"

Completely pointless to try, "But, but, but, but, daddy!" Due process in the court of St. Raymond was swift and certain. He assessed the crime, and whatever one of us kids had coming was quickly dispensed to all three. No exceptions. (This was long before self esteem was a thing.)

Only once or twice did St. Raymond offer an explanation for his expedited, global justice. It went like this:

"I know you might not be at fault this time. But I refuse to hear a bunch of excuses and finger pointing. Sometimes you may get more or less punishment than you deserve. However, over the course of your childhood, it will even out. You will each receive about the right amount of discipline, and we won't have to talk about it."

It Is What It Is.  Right?  Done!

Afterward, we would dry our tears and move on. St. Raymond had a quick flash point, but was just as quick to forgive and forget.

And he applied the same approach to life. As in the time we came out of the Civic Center after the circus to find our car, um, different, somehow. Hubcaps missing? Oh, no. All four wheels were gone! Yep, our car was sitting on the axles.

Photo by born1945

Wailing and gnashing of teeth? Not from my dad. St. Raymond looked at the car, and said, "Well, we'll have to call the police and the insurance adjuster and find a ride home." Period.

So why mention it?

Because most things that happen in life are nuisances.  We whine (personal experience!) and complain (gifted at this!) and throw up our hands, but It Is What It Is.

My dad knew that. I am guessing that WWII gave him perspective. He knew what serious difficulty and true tragedy were, and did not confuse them with daily nonsense.

Whatever 2017 brings our way, may we all have the grace of perspective.

"O God, grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change, 
the courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference."

Wishing you a year of nuisances that invite you to say, "It Is What It Is" and move on.

Because that will be one Happy New Year!