BY BEN NEALE, YPC Leadership Board
Growing up as a boy in rural middle TN, our family only had the basic four or five main network TV channels…we were too far out to get anything else and even today my parents don’t care to get anything more. (We did however have shoes, electricity and even running water, contrary to popular beliefJ)
The quality of the reception on these channels was dependent on the season and weather. Sometimes we would have two channels, sometimes three. I know this can almost sound preposterous in today’s entertainment-soaked society and is what some could even ascertain to be abuse! In our household this intrinsically led to Sunday afternoons of watching either that fuzzy haired painter guy (Bob Ross) or “The Woodwright Shop” on PBS. Most often though, my father would opt to watch a movie such as ‘Lonesome Dove’ or ‘The Sackett’s’ for about 15 minutes before he fell asleep for a nap. I’d then be left with the choice to go outside or stay in to watch it while unknowingly soaking up some of the ideas that have molded me as a person. To speak honestly, the repetition of these events have probably molded me, for the good or bad, more than I would care to admit.
Probably one of the primary drivers of admiration I had as a young boy in the men portrayed by Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones or Tom Seleck in these movies was their perseverance in the face of adversity. For that reason, I would like to start a conversation or at least offer an idea on how we as young cattle people will deal with the setbacks that will inevitably come to us.
In the last few weeks, I have had to come to terms with losing some very close friends of mine and also deal with a painful back injury that has not allowed me much besides staring at my ceiling and thinking. When there’s problems all around, being still can be one of the hardest actions to choose! Yet for me it can be one of the most rewarding because it forced me to mentally deal with the situations that arise.
I realized that I had, for at least a brief time, developed a misguided expectation that I should not have the problems I was experiencing. I had ‘worked hard, ‘been good’ or (insert other excuse here) that allowed me to think my current situation was unfair. Sometimes I/we can tend to think this when there is something or someone in a position that may be preventing us from reaching a goal. I wholeheartedly agree that we should set goals and try to achieve them but we cannot forget to plan and be patient with the expected bumps in the road on the way to achievement.
This reminded me of the quote from Gus McCrae when talking to Lorie about San Francisco.
“Lorie darlin’, life in San Francisco, you see, is still just life. If you want any one thing too badly, it’s likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things, like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.”
I don’t mean for this to be taken out of context and that we turn from a goal-oriented attitude to drink whiskey and stay in bed. Although it has sure helped my back the last few days! My point is that achieving a goal is only one part of the enjoyments of life. We also need to be enjoying the adversity and the challenges that come almost as much as the achievements. If we expect too much satisfaction from climbing a ladder of success then when we arrive at the top we may find we had leaned it against the wrong building.
In the closing scene of the movie we can see that Woodrow’s vision of his life is the good with the bad. Often times I think some of us that have not had the privilege of years of wisdom look to the generation ahead and think they somehow just arrived where they are. That they didn’t have adversity to face or difficulty in taking over the reins from someone else. The more I have learned I cannot believe that this perception is reality. I have come to understand that the ones before us that have really achieved what we desire have done so, not without problems, but in spite of them.
There will be problems that come and mistakes made by us all on our way through life. The best we can do is live as honorably as we can, limit the mistakes we make where possible, ask forgiveness from God and others when we don’t and persevere in the face of our consequences.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson