Wise Word Wednesday: A Head-slap from Oscar Wilde



“What seems to us as
bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

-Oscar Wilde

Every now and then I find
I need a slap upside the head to remind me to put my life in perspective.
Preferably such slaps are playful reminders,
Gibbs-style, but sometimes my own life or reports of the lives
of others deal a more significant blow. Though neither are usually pleasant, I welcome both for no other reason than that they reminded me of all that I’m
am blessed with on a daily basis.

Last week one of my bosses
got to be my Gibbs. While I was moaning about the problems with my paperback
release, he gently reminded me that problems with having a book published were
pretty good problems to have. He was right. This time last year I had two books
written without one publisher or agent in sight, thirty rejection letters
littering my email account, and no real hope of any of that changing. If I had
overheard another writer complaining that her book’s release date was changed
last minute, I would have smothered my jealousy by calling her a whiny witch
under my breath. And even that version of myself ought to have been
head-slapped. Because, although her dream of becoming an author may not have
been realized, she was still a damn lucky chick, with a great family, amazing
friends, few wants and far fewer needs–something that really hit home last

All fall people have complaining about the election, and I was one of them. We complained about the
abundance of campaign ads, that Facebook had suddenly morphed from a place to post cute pictures of our kids or pets to a fiery political minefield, that the debates are on too late or that they’ve cancelled our
favorite show for the night because of them, and, of course, about
the candidates. It wasn’t until I was watching the world news last night and
saw the juxtaposition of two stories, that I actually felt guilty about this
grumbling. Right after wrapping up a piece on the Presidential debate, the
anchor turned to the story of
Malala Yousafzai, a story
I’d been following for the last week, one that had touched me as a teacher, a
woman, and just a human being. It was more of a punch in the gut than a playful

Along with half the
country, I’ve been complaining about being bombarded with reminders that I have
the right, the freedom, and the privilege to vote. I was blessed with the right
to go to school, get a job, own property, write this blog, and complain about
the government and anyone else I want to complain about publicly and often
without the elegance and grace with which those from nations without such
freedoms voice their opinions. None of these blessings came to me through any
hard work of my own. I have never served in the military, run for office,
written legislation, or even attended a political rally. Unlike
fourteen-year-old Malala, I certainly have never stared down the barrel of a
gun for what I believe in. The only thing I have done, the only thing I’ll
likely ever do, is vote.

So even though I’ve reached
the point where I’m standing in Stop & Shop waiting for the intercom to add
“This clean-up in aisle four is approved by Joe Smoe for store manager,” I’m
going to try to remember not to groan. Instead I’m going to hope with all my heart that girls (and boys) 
living in other parts of the world, like Malala, one day share my ‘complaints.’ Problems with too much freedom of
speech, with too much free media, or with too many people wanting to serve
their country by running for elected office are not really problems at all.
They are the blessings of this sometimes crazy, sometimes divided, but always
free country in which we live.


1 Comment

Filed under The Rest of Life

One response to “Wise Word Wednesday: A Head-slap from Oscar Wilde

  1. Excellent post, Lauren. Sometimes we just need to put things in perspective. Thank you for sharing; it will be in my thughts all day.


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