“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I come that you might have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10
Ever watch Dora the Explorer? I have only had the privilege of watching it a few times in the past few years as I was babysitting for a friend. Unfortunately my kids were born in the Barney era. Do you know how many hours of “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family” I had to endure. Sorry, now that song is stuck in your head. Maybe that would be an acceptable form of torture to help in the war on Terror. Just put Barney reruns on and force the terrorists to watch. I wonder if the Commander in Chief has a suggestion box I could drop that in? But I digress. For those of you who don’t know, Dora the Explorer has a villain on the show; a fox named swiper. Swiper is a thief. He steals stuff all the time. Every time he steals something you get to yell at the TV, “Swiper, no swiping” over and over again, until he gives what ever he stole back. Lately I have felt like yelling at my TV of life. “SWIPER, NO SWIPING!”
Two years ago I found myself sitting on top of a tractor as part of my new job. I sat on that tractor as tears streamed down my face and I thought, who stole my life? How did I end up here on this tractor without my dream job and at the end of a 23 year marriage? In this past week I have heard news of a friend diagnosed with cancer, a teen battling addiction, and another friend taking care of a disabled child whose husband just walked out. I know they are asking the same questions I did. How did I end up here? Who stole my life? So again, I want to yell “SWIPER, NO SWIPING!”
It didn’t happen over night, and it came with a lot of grief and struggle, but I came to the realization that I had a choice in this. I could be the victim of a theft, and let my circumstances steal my life, or I could take it back. I could get up, chase it down, tackle it, and get my life back. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my “why me” moments and my “life is so unfair” tantrums. (and I still have to drive a tractor) But, I have found that the key to recovering what was stolen, is not staying in those moments. Not dwelling on the whys but on the hows. How am I going to make this better? How can I turn this into a good? How can I improve my today? Has Cancer been your thief? An unfaithful spouse? A rebellious teen? Unemployment? What can you do today to take back what was stolen? Maybe even try yelling, “SWIPER, NO SWIPING!!” There is something very therapeutic about yelling!
One of the goals of Dora the Explorer is to teach children to overcome obstacles. As the show plays out and the kids solve the problems they get to yell “We Did It!” and do the “We Did It!” dance at the end of the show. I know that dancing the “We Did It!” dance is the farthest thing from those who are suffering now in the midst of their difficulties. I just may have smacked someone had they suggested I dance when I was in the middle of my drama. But if you do everything you can, for today, to get back what was stolen and not remain a victim… you too can do the “We Did It” dance when you are on the other side.
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength”
“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better”
“When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always be worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better.”