When we first moved to Texas, Daddy was the only one in our family who could communicate in English.
Being five years old, inquisitive, a girl, and a Brazilian, my need to communicate was soon acted upon, and I was well on my way to learning this brand new, and curious language called English. Obviously the process came with its share of little struggles, and quite often, misunderstandings.
One these misunderstandings occurred during a visit my father had. You see, being a Preacher means when someone in the congregation, or anyone who’d like a visit, needs or asks for one, Daddy goes to their home (or they come to ours) for a talk, prayer, advice, etc. Sometimes the family goes along with him, sometimes we don’t.
On this particular occasion, I remember having gone with him to visit a church friend’s friend who’d recently lost his wife. He had a young daughter, about my age, ( Unfortunately, I can’t for the life of me remember her name), and while her father, and my father talked in the living room, we wandered around the property playing, and trying to communicate as best we could. Moments later, the poor girl rushed with tears in her eyes, into the living room. I walked slowly into the living room completely confused, but sheepishly because I knew I had made her cry, and that was usually a sign I’d be in trouble. Yet I had no idea of what I had done to make her cry!
Her father reached over to her and asked her what had happened, between sobs she answered, “She keeps telling me she can’t hear me!”
What had happened was she had been trying to tell me something, and I couldn’t understand. Instead of saying, “I can’t understand you.” Five year-old me kept repeating, “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” She’d try again only to be met with my persistent shaking of head and again announcing, “I can’t hear you!”
Naturally she became upset thinking I was being cruel and in other words telling her to, “Speak to the hand!”
My father looked towards me with a raised eyebrow. In Portuguese I explained to him, “I can’t understand what she’s saying. It’s English.” Father sighed in relief and explained to the girl and her father.
I don’t remember much after that, but I like to think that the girl forgave me, and we mended fences during the rest of the time I was there.
Sometimes however, a girl speaks to me, she tells me “You can do it! Stick to it! Keep going! Go, Go, Go!” This girl is me. The bubbly optimistic, everything is possible and rosy, side of me. The one that the other, realistic, sensible, mature and normal side of me wants to slap.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to think positive, to think that everything really will work out if I just keep going, but sometimes, I realize I’ve got to put my hand up, and tell Bubbly to bubble down. Am I saying it’s wrong to not give up, wrong to be optimistic? No! Not at all! Never! Giving up is simply not an option. What I am saying is, everywhere we look (Pinterest, Tumblrs, Fancy, Blogs,) people are screaming DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t stop believing! Keep on going! And that’s all wonderful. (Can you hear a but coming?
Here it is –>)
But sometimes I feel that all these messages as well intentioned as they might be, can keep us going, keep us going…on the wrong track! Sure, where there’s a will, there is a way. But sometimes, there are many ways. And sometimes, we pick the wrong one, and stubbornly keep on going down it because we refuse to “Give Up!”
Maybe, just maybe, sometimes it’s ok to give up on a path and try a new one. Sometimes it’s ok to quit a process, and try another one. No, we really shouldn’t give up on our goals, but maybe we can give up on the wrong way to achieve them.
Sometimes giving up isn’t at all a sign of weakness, but instead, a sign of strength to admit that results didn’t turn out as you expected. But it may only be a sign of strength, if you’re willing to pick yourself up, admit failure, walk away, and try again some other way.
Sometimes it’s easier to believe we’re on the right track, than to admit we’ll have to rechart our journey.
It takes strength to turn to the ever optimist, and say “Stop telling me it’ll be alright if I just keep going. Because it won’t. I need to adjust some things in order for it to work. I need to add elbow grease in order for everything to be all right. I can’t hear you.”
And mean it.