Keeping Things In Perspective by Jody Hedlund
The laughter of a dozen children splashing in the water was like background music to my mother soul. As I sat on the back deck that overlooked the lake, I could keep an eye on my kids and talk with the other parents—a perfect way to relax on a humid summer evening.
The shout of “Marco” and the responding “Polo” wafted over the water. And I smiled as my four year old daughter attempted to join the big kids in their game.
Suddenly quiet descended over the group of children and their water tag came to a halt.
My body tensed and I did a quick head count, making sure I could see all five of my children. One of my 11 year old twins stood with a hand over her mouth. The other kids quickly surrounded her. When she pushed her way through them and waded to the shore, my heart stuttered with a silent uh-oh.
I jumped up and raced to her, cringing with each step. Did she have a busted lip? A cut? A bruise?
Her big brown eyes gazed at me with confusion and horror.
“What happened?” I asked, not sure I really wanted to know.
She took her hand away and that’s when I saw it.
Half of her top front tooth was missing.
I could only stare, speechless. Her permanent tooth. Cracked. Missing.
One thought reverberated through my head, “She’ll have to live the rest of her life, all 80 plus years, with a broken tooth. The rest of her life. The rest of her life.” My beautiful daughter, on the brink of her insecure teenage years, would have a glaring black gap in her pretty smile.
I was devastated. Later at home, after the kids were in bed, I sat with my husband in stunned silence and wanted to cry. Why her? And why a tooth? Why couldn’t it have been a split lip instead? At least that would have healed.
Gravely, my husband finally said, “At least the dentist will be able to fix it. And we can be grateful it wasn’t anything worse.”
And that’s when I realized how easy it is to lose perspective. Through a tight throat I said, “If I’m a basket-case with a broken tooth, I’d hate to see myself if something worse happened to one of the kids.”
We’re bound to have those broken-tooth moments in life and in writing—those times when it feels like the world is ending, but in reality we’ve just hit a bump in the road. Usually, after we’ve had the chance to put the situation in perspective, we realize that the problem isn’t so big, that maybe it’s fixable, and that it could have been so much worse . . . after all what’s a broken tooth compared to a drowning?
I’m a passionate person. I feel things deeply. It’s a great quality to have as a writer because I can transfuse those emotions into my stories. It’s only healthy and right for all of us to experience our emotions, not to ignore them or gloss over them. We can embrace our disappointments, fears, and frustrations.
But . . . I’m learning that it’s also healthy to keep things in perspective. When we face another rejection, harsh criticism, or difficult situation, we can allow ourselves to feel the pain. But then we should eventually tell ourselves, “I can be grateful it wasn’t anything worse.”
Perspective. When we keep things in perspective, we learn to be more grateful for what we’re given, instead of focusing on what we’re missing.
How about you? Have you had any broken-tooth moments, when at the situation looked horrible, but in hindsight it wasn’t so bad? How do you learn to keep things in perspective?
Jody Hedlund is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.
She’s represented by agent Rachelle Gardner and her debut book, The Preacher’s Bride, released in Oct. 2010 and is available online and in most bookstores. Stop by her blog, Author, Jody Hedlund, where she chronicles her journey to publication and dispenses more of her two-cent writing wisdom.
Jody has graciously offered to give away a copy of her brand new release, The Preacher's Bride, to one of our readers, so don't forget to enter the drawing. (I -- Susanne -- am loving this book!)Just leave your email address in the comment section of this post by nine pm, Sunday, October 31 to be entered into the drawing, and we'll contact the lucky winner.
I have heard a lot of great things about this book. Please include me in the giveaway! gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]netReplyDelete
I am with you on keeping perspective - especially when it comes to children. I only have my one little boy (he just turned One). I've already told him a few times as he's crawled or climbed to places of questionable safety, "You may get hurt and then mommy will be the one crying..." *heh*
Yep. Perspective is sometimes hard to keep. Thanks for the reminder. I'd love to get a chance to read your book. If I don't win it, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for it to purchase.
Thanks for sharing.
nm8r67 at hotmail dot com
I am generally a glass half full kind of person, but things like injuries and "permanent damage" can send me into a pit of despair.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing- I look forward to reading your book! It's on top of the heap to be read!!
My philosopy over the years has turned into "How important is it? Really. I understand that feeling of dread. Sometimes all we can do is pray, and I mean on our knees kind of dig deep into the soul kind of prayer.
I like what you said, "Perspective. When we keep things in perspective, we learn to be more grateful for what we’re given, instead of focusing on what we’re missing." jilly11[at]cinci[dot]rr[dot]com
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Good morning, everyone! I'm enjoying hearing your perspectives so far on how you keep disappointments and hardships in perspective! Thank you all for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thanks for coming to visit us.
I hate those "broken-tooth" moments. I tend to overreact in a big way and have to get alone with God to get my emotions unwrinkled and regain perspective. Unfortunately, many of those broken-tooth moments do not provide for quiet time with the Lord.
I'm thankful for a balanced and stable husband, who seems to remain almost TOO calm in those situations!
Blessings to you, and great favor coming your way with your book!
Jody, thanks so much for joining us today on the Inkwell! What an honor to have you here.ReplyDelete
I was blessed by your post: I allow too many things to become much bigger issues than they are. Keeping Godly perspective is a difficult task for me sometimes.
DebH, your comment made me smile. My son was a physically intense baby, and I underestimated him all the time. I remember one day, I walked in the room to find him standing on top of the kitchen table. The kid couldn't walk, but he'd managed to pull out a chair without me hearing it and scramble over it to climb on top of the table -- all in the time it took me to transfer clothes from the washer to dryer. He looked extremely proud of himself. And I realized I was in trouble! The table incident was nothing compared to the day he climbed the refrigerator.
I love Jody's book -- it is so well-written -- and tomorrow, I believe, Gina will have a recommendation for it here at the Inkwell.
Thanks again, Jody!
thank you for those words of wisdom, Jody. And you're a Michigan lady. Me, too--way back in my youth.ReplyDelete
Don;t put me in the drawing. Not a lack of interest; I just prefer to buy my colleagues' books to winning them.
My daughter did the same thing about that age. I don't think I panicked, though.ReplyDelete
Usually to keep perspective I say to myself "What's the worst thing that could really result from this situation."
Looking forward to reading your book. I've heard it's great. I remember when you announced the sale on facebook last year.
Thanks again for having me on Inkwell Inspirations! And Dina, I like what you tell yourself. Often things could be so much worse than they really are, and it's good to remind ourselves of how blessed we truly are!ReplyDelete
i would love to read this wonderful novel...thanks for the opportunity :)ReplyDelete
kmkuka at yahoo dot com
Everyone who's listed their email addy has been entered into the drawing...I'll check back and pick a random winner out of the hat tomorrow night.ReplyDelete
Jody, thanks again so much for joining us at the Inkwell. Your post was a blessing to me.
Hey Jody, sorry for coming in late...ReplyDelete
Wow, could I ever relate to your story - well, except for that 5th kid. That one's not even on the horizon. LOL
Yes, I have many broken-tooth moments... and one real broken-tooth story. Seven-yr-old daughter walking down the sidewalk, trips, smiles. Uh-oh.
Me: Hey, where's your tooth?
Jess: Whaddya mean?
Me: Smile. Uh oh.
Jess: Mom! Where's a mirror?
Me: I don't have a mirror. We're 3 blocks from home.
Jess is gone.
Hers wasn't the front, though. Her teeth were crooked back then and it was either the eye tooth or the one between the eye tooth and front.
Thanks for bringing back my memories of Jess. With teen and tween boys still at home, I tend to forget what the girls went through.
Hmmm... or maybe I'm trying to forget. LOL
Thanks for visiting us at the Inkwell.