Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Pick Your Battles

Dear Tomorrow,

There are so many people fighting wars they don't believe in. There are so many people at war with themselves. Some fight for things that will never change. Some fight for battles they can't win. Some fight knowing they will never win. Over the years I have fought many battles. Some that left me defeated. Others that had nothing to do with me. And some I still fight knowing that they might change a part of the world. I'm learning each day that not all battles can be picked. Some battles enter your battlefield without your choice or knowledge. And not all battles are non-trivial. I urge you sometimes in life to take on smaller battles as well as the big ones that'll shape. Today, I fought the shredder. And I won. I jammed it first by shoving a way-too-thick bunch of papers through the disproportionately narrow entryway for those papers to get eaten by hungry blades. So I picked a battle I certainly didn't intend to fight today. In my rush to get lots shredded, I overestimated the capacity of my machine. As soon as I set the papers to be chewed on, I silently noted my error. And let out a prolonged curse, not so silently.  From my shredder emanated a low whir. I could hear the machine lament, "Now why did you do that, human?" I didn't have a suitable answer, but I was unwilling to retreat in this now growing battle I had picked. So I shoved on. I angrily moved the buttons back and forth watching (and listening to) the machine anxiously sputter shreds and retry its job. Didn't work. So I had to pull out my tools and unscrew screws and plier paper out. There were definite moments when I thought I would lose this battle. These moments were interspersed with other more lucid moments when I questioned why I was picking battles with paper shredders. I'm not very competitive, but I wasn't going to let this thing win.

And win it didn't.

Pick your battles. Not everything has to be fought. But when you choose to fight it, I wish you the right tools, grit, persistence, and trust in yourself. Even when you hear threatening noises indicating a serious breakdown of machinery.



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