When we were younger, my little brother Ronnie and I had a small billie goat. He was a rambunctious little critter and he would often ram you in his play. One day, I came around the corner of our property I witnessed a horrifying event, my brother had the little goat hung in the air, suspended by his neck using his belt; the little creature was screaming! I yelled at Ronnie, “what are you doing?!!”. He dropped the goat, who scampered off unphased, and explained in a frustrated tone. “He (expletive), butted me into the ditch and I’m soaked and covered with mud!” I laugh at this event now although at the time he thought it not too funny. It makes me think of our reactions when we are victims of external circumstances.
Now, I am on the tail end of our latest furlough. What do we do when we are butted by the goat, or in my case are a vicitm of the government bureaucracy? Here are a few ways to cope with cirumstances beyond your control:
1. Recognize that you are not in control of the big picture events, but you can control your response to them. Frankl learned this powerful lesson in the concentration camp, that we can control our viewpoint of our circumstances and reframe it for good.
2. Focus on growth. Continue to learn and grow, sharpen the saw as Covey would say.
3. Get away and do something totally different to cleanse your mind. I find that physical exertion helps me clear my head. Call it windshield time, time for reflection or whatever. Just do something different.
4. Focus on God and family; recognize its only a chapter.
Whatever you do; don’t hang the goat!