You’re Lucky

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“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I taught kindergarten, a fellow teacher assured me I was lucky.

She said it again and again at the beginning of each school year. She told me how lucky I was to always be assigned a well-behaved class, while paying little attention to the hours my students walked up and down corridors to learn hallway procedures, to forfeited breaks because I kept unruly children in from recess until they could behave, and to our class practicing a dozen or so times daily how to line up in the cafeteria.

I explained how much work it took because I wanted credit for my efforts until I recognized I was lucky to know how to make my own luck.

From then on, my response was, “Thank you. I am lucky.”

When we celebrated our 10th, 20th and 30th anniversaries, friends who weren’t as lucky told me I was.

I heard over and over how lucky I was that I didn’t have to deal with divorce, even though they gave little regard to troubles they knew we’d walked through, counseling we sought, and years of recovery programs that weren’t magic, but, instead, required a lot of work on each of our parts.

I defended our difficulties like they were badges of honor until I recognized I was lucky to know how to make my own luck.

From then on, my response was, “Thank you. We are lucky.”

So, when our daughter complained about people calling her labor easy and telling her she was fortunate to deliver their baby naturally and in such a short period of time, I understood she wanted recognition for the weeks of childbirth classes she and her husband attended, the homework they practiced nightly, and the breathing and other preparation that often took time and energy she didn’t think she could muster. One of her doulas said, “You wouldn’t run a marathon without preparation, so why would you have a baby without being as prepared?”

After we talked, I think she recognized she was lucky to know how to make her own luck.

Next time, maybe her response will be, “Thank you. I am lucky.”

Are you lucky enough to know how to make your own luck or are you stuck in an unlucky phase that might need some practice?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I don’t always practice good luck, but I always remember it is there for the practicing.

On the side: No amount of practice or “luck” can calm some classes, save some marriages, or ease some childbirth experiences, however, doing our part most times does help.

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13 responses »

  1. Luck is really where you see it. Remember Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech at Yankee Stadium…”I consider myself the luckiest man alive.”

    Even with amyelotropic lateral sclerosis.

    To consider other people lucky is fine as long as it’s sincere good wishes, but it can be a step on the long descent into envy. The backstory of “You’re lucky” can so often be, “…and I’m not”.

    Personally, even with an illness that wants to kill me and a trashed academic career, I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone. I’m so much better off than they are, it’s just ridiculous!

    And when I’m tempted to, just a little, indulge the little green monster of envy, I look up Edward Arlington Robinson’s poem, “Richard Cory”. To refresh memory, it’s about a rich man who’s also a gentleman, and whose life seems perfect. Here’s the last verse:

    “So on we worked, and waited for the light,
    and went without the meat, and cursed the bread.
    And Richard Cory went home, one calm summer night,
    And put a bullet through his head.”

    • Good point about comparisons, Andrew. Really good point. That is what some people are implying, is that they’re not lucky. Too bad too because they’ll never be with that attitude.

      Michael J. Fox since suffering through Parkinson’s has said the same thing as Lou Gehrig – that he’s the luckiest man alive. I kept the article because it gave me goosebumps. I want to feel that way more often about my life.

      As always, I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

  2. So, distilling this down … I am lucky … when I work and prepare and fight my way through the tough times … and see results …
    and the blessings of God are woven through the luck created by my efforts? Because there is luck … and then there are blessings. Complete I-had-nothing-to-do-with-this blessings … and no other explanation … but God.

    (And i know you’re not discounting God, Kim. I’m just talking out loud here on your blog. Sorry about that.)

    🙂

    • Beth, never, never, never apologize for your insightful comments. This one’s pretty funny because right before I pushed publish, I thought, “I should add something about God and his part in all of this.” However, it was 11:59 on Monday evening and I’ve been trying my best (with some success) to post on Mondays. I could have edited and added him even after I posted, but I didn’t.

      So, here’s the thing – and I’m feeling another blog post coming on as I type this – God was an afterthought, then I didn’t have time to add him, then I was too tired to mess with him. Hmmmm, a lesson here?

      I love when you think out loud on my blog!

  3. good thought provoking post…Luck is there…blessings are there…but, as individuals we have to work at our lives…what we want…versus other things that could be…Yes, I have been married 45 years come Feb. …Just luck…don’t think so…Kids that respect and love me and their Dad…just luck…teaching sems to play in there somewhere…
    Well, you got me going girl…as I said, “Great post!”…

  4. Kim, your blog is on target. I think we make our good luck by making good decisions and working hard, and yes to Beth Vogt–sometimes our “good luck” is a direct blessing from God.

  5. From Facebook –

    Elizabeth McNew, Rusty Henson, Summer Turner and 2 others like this.

    Joel Carter Very good
    Yesterday at 12:50am via mobile · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson Thank you, Joel Carter.
    Yesterday at 1:08am · Like

    Peggy New a long time ago I was asked to work in a US Senator’s regional office and my primary qualification was that I had a college degree (in literature!). I remembered my mother’s insistence that I graduate from college and knew then that regardless of how “useless” a degree in literature was, it would open doors otherwise closed. And it has – over and over. Luck? No way …. hard work!
    Yesterday at 6:30am · Unlike · 1

    Summer Turner Insightful, and a good read!
    Yesterday at 10:29am via mobile · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson Your mom was wise to be insistent, Peggy New, and you were wise to do the hard work. I appreciate and relate to your comment.
    2 minutes ago · Like

    Kim Henson Thanks, Summer Turner. I think of you each time I pass Art & Soul – An Artisan Gallery, so you’re thought of often.
    about a minute ago · Like

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