October 15, 2013: Bottom Feeders or Dolphins?

Where do you swim?
I am reverting  backwards in time with this blog post. Last week, on the same day that we had a jubilant day with a wrecking ball and signed contracts, I got a disturbing e-mail that same night.

In the big picture, the e-mail was irrelevant. I tried to discount it with a response that would make my mother proud. I took the high road. But it still bothered me. Although the topic was borderline silly, the persistent anger from the woman sending it was both irrational and sad.

The tone took me back to some dark days I had myself. I could actually relate as I had been there; swimming in circles at the bottom of the ocean. A bottom feeder.

Let me regress. I am divorced. Going through the divorce was not easy. It was hard. People sympathized with me and initially, I gladly accepted the sympathy. The easy and feel-good way was to play victim. And I played it very well. For the short term, kind of like feeding a hungry heart with binge-eating, it felt good. But then just as quickly, it didn't feel so good. I had became a bottom feeder.

It took a really brave friend to tell me to knock it off. As they described to me my disposition of bottom feeder, it felt like a two-by-four to the head. Similar to those fish living at the bottom of the ocean, surviving off of each other's waste, that is where I was swimming. And there is much company at the bottom of the ocean. There are schools of fish circling in the dark, living off the crap left at the bottom.

My days as a bottom feeder were short-lived. I thank my friend for knocking some sense into me. God gives us all free will. Most of us hit hard times at some point in our lives and can choose to live in self-pity or rise above it. Wallowing with other bottom feeders is the easy way out.

The other choice is to swim to the top of the ocean and enjoy the sun and air; leaping like a dolphin. Once you make it to the top, you wonder why you ever wallowed at the bottom. At the end of the day, it's a choice. Free will.

It really does come down to free will. You can't pull someone to the top of the ocean without them wanting to go there. Forced, they will inevitably go back down. My hope is that this particular e-mail writer has a friend or family member to pull her to the top.

My personal takeaway is to follow the Serenity Prayer. Accept the things I cannot change, but have the courage to change the things I can. The best of friends and family are those who pull you up, not pull you down. For these awesome people in my life, I am forever grateful.  And in return, I need to continually to pay it forward. Which is a great thing...because the dolphins really are amazing.

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