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Rolling Out The Welcome Mat ...Reluctantly

There’s an old folk adage that says “You can’t run from trouble - ain’t no place that far!” (Br’er Rabbit) What follows is an imaginary conversation that takes place when trouble comes to call. At some point, I’ve experienced most of the sentiments in this trouble tale. How about you?

[A knock at the door!]

Hello Trouble!

Back again so soon?

I thought you might show up, but wasn't sure if or when. Yes, there have been signs, but I was hoping the rumblings were only rumors. I guess I was also hoped things might work themselves out on their own. I still do that don’t I?

So, here you are! May I ask how long you’ll be staying? Not sure, eh? I don’t mean to be rude. At least you didn’t come with sirens this time!

Sorry if I sound impertinent, but sometimes you say it's up to me how long the visit lasts. By now I know you won’t leave until you’re good and ready. There are usually things I can do to shorten the stay, but it depends on the magnitude of your campaign, of course.

The last time you were here, I can’t say I was sorry to see you leave, but I’ve learned that you always make an impression (or leave a mark) and generally I feel wiser as a result of our time together. Perhaps I should be a bit more grateful. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to offer a warmer welcome.

So, what’s the occasion? Taking away something I love? Delivering something new and awful? Or, just a standard dose of chaos?

What’s in store?

Oh, so it’s that then! Does it have to be that? I know I ask this often, but you know how I tend to repeat myself. I say silly things like, “Why me? Why this? Or my favorite: “This is one of those things I always think of as happening to others. You know, I hear about such things, and think it could never happen to me.”

Well, if it really is that, then I certainly should have seen it coming, right? I suppose that doesn’t matter now, unless it helps me to see more clearly next time. There’s that.

Does it seem to you that I may be starting to accept these visits a little more calmly? You remember how my hair would catch fire early on? Sometimes I’m even intrigued when you arrive. Curious even. I like to think it’s because I’m becoming a little more objective about it all. That would be a good thing, right?

Well, you’re here and I’m not going to try and rush you to leave. I know you won’t abide it anyway. No, I think I’m going to take it slower this time, and try to sit with the uncertainty and fear and all. To just look plainly at this quandary you’ve brought. Maybe I can just see it for what it is, and not judge myself or others with regard to why you’re here. I’ll try to imagine a way I can get through it - and from it - with a little grace this time.

Yes, and I think I’ll try to help my fellow participants in the dilemma. You know me, I tend to think about myself first when it comes to the inconvenience, and I sometimes don’t tend to the others until it’s too late. Maybe I can calm them a bit, and do it a bit sooner. A little encouragement could go a long way.

I could say some of the things that I’d like to hear like, “We’re going to get through this together. It’s going to be hard, but let’s try to accept that and figure out a way forward. We won’t be able to figure out what’s next if all we focus on is what’s wrong. I’m here for you. You can talk to me and I promise I won’t try to blame or fix you.”

Is it just me, or has the quality of these problems improved? Seems to me it used to be a lot more dumb stuff. Am I just getting older and tired of failing the same old way? Or is it possible I’m getting better about it?

You always hold up the mirror and help me see what I really believe, and how it’s sometimes different than what I say I believe. You have this way of keeping it real, don’t you?

You know, there are times when I think I’m actually starting to appreciate you. You and your friend, Reality, seemed so harsh and unbending at first, but I see now that I was the one who needed to be flexible. You’ve been pretty consistent all along. It’s me that waivers and vacillates, runs scared. After all, you are a bit scary, but at least you tell the truth. That’s a rare thing, even among friends.

Yes, I suppose I did just call you friend. You’re welcome, (I think).

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