How to Never Let Anything Bother You Again
They told me a lot of things bothered grandfather Morrison. He had a terrible temper when he was young. But I never saw it. I think it’s a good thing because he was a hulk of a man with a barrel chest and hands the size of pumpkins.
By the time I was old enough to notice, he seemed steady as a rock. I never saw him angry or heard him speak louder than a talking voice.
I remember the day the Morrison farm burned to the ground. I was younger than five, but just how much younger I don’t know. They took me to my other grandparents, Otis and Ada Rockwell, in East Corinth.
I don’t remember much about the fire, but I remember the smoldering ashes where the buildings used to be. I also remember the smooth shapes of melted glass I found in the debris.
I mention the fire because tragedy changes us. And I think it changed Glenn Morrison for good.
Grampy never seemed bothered about anything. Bad weather, even when it might spoil the hay that had been cut the day before, didn’t disturb him. After all, a spoiled crop is a small thing once your farm burns to the ground.
The smoldering stopped on the old Morrison farm. Grampy didn’t rebuild. The empty foundations never changed as long I lived on Reeves Road. Glenn and Helen just moved down the road about a mile, bought the neighbors farm, and kept on farming.
You’re steady like a rock when you accept the realities of life.
Acceptance isn’t approval. People screw up. The numbers suck. The house burns down. Move down the road a mile and begin again.
The sun rises everyday regardless of the trivialities of life.
Impactful and truly Motivational, Needed this now and always to remember
Thanks Pat. It was useful to remember that story from the past. I’m glad you found it useful too.
I had an unpleasant event yesterday and was feeling very blue, your story lifted me up. Thank you Dan. Your blog is my bible!
Thanks Mira. It’s a pleasure to be of service. I’m afraid I let the circumstances of life pull us down. I’m trying to remember to move up the road a mile and begin again. Cheers.
I have been wound up this weekend over a former foster child who continually (although not intentionally!) causes upheaval in my life.
Holy cow God used this story in a powerful way in my life first thing on this Monday morning–just in time for her visit at some point today or tomorrow from out of state!
“You’re steady like a rock when you accept the realities of life. Acceptance isn’t approval. People screw up.”
This will help me be gracious and welcoming while at the same time lovingly talk about some boundaries and protocols. THANK YOU!!
Thanks Cynthea. The tensions between acceptance and approval are tough to navigate. Then of course, how to give support and also set boundaries takes wisdom. I wish you well.
I wouldn’t consider losing the entire farm to a fire a “trivial’ thing. Simplicity is a beautiful thing. But, when you over-simplify life by suggesting that it’s all so super simple…”just move down the road and buy the neighbors farm and keep on going…no biggy” you mischaracterize the impact of hardship for most people. It’s nice they had the money to buy the neighbors farm. Most people don’t. Not a very authentic take on life, in my opinion.
what’s the alternative? we can mourn the loss, then what? acceptance alone will help us move on and find another opportunity to thrive.?? my 2 cents.
At first I felt that too. “They bought the neighbor’s farm and kept farming.” Lucky for them! Maybe.
Maybe they had been “saving for a rainy day” (or a fire). Maybe they had insurance. Maybe the community rallied around them, including the neighbor, who had just been injured and needed to quit farming and worked out a deal with the Morrisons. Glenn Morrison let it make him better, not bitter.
Maybe Dan has more Glenn & Helen stories.
Congratulations….you missed my point completely.
Thank you for your post today! I really needed this small, powerful reminder this morning.
I like this “Acceptance isn’t approval. People screw up. The numbers suck. The house burns down. Move down the road a mile and begin again.”
My grandfather was also a farmer, his land taken my eminent domain for an airfield at the start of WW2. Being of German parentage I’m told he always wondered if that was a factor, yet he never became embittered. He also moved on. I wish I could visit with him anonymously, 45 year old Martin and 45 year old Ken, I think I could learn a lot.
A great reminder that looking forward hopefully is always more constructive than looking back wistfully.
“You’re steady like a rock when you accept the realities of life.” I’ve been working the last year with my son on these issues. He graduated last year from Cal State LA and was supposed to go to Grad School at Cal State Long Beach in the fall of 2020. That was put off to this year. He has also been caught up with a Part-time job where Covid got in the way of him getting paid (it’s a complicated story). So we talk each day about what life throws at you. We talk about how you have choices at how to react to what is thrown at you. You can act in I will say the normal way (say the right road at the fork) that 99% take by getting upset, dwelling on how one is a victim, bemoaning how life is “unfair” OR you can take that left road in the fork, the one less traveled. I’ve always been one to take that less traveled road and we talk about how that road is harder and you have to work to stay positive (like your Grandpa’s story) but you control your actions on that road. When one chooses to recognize that life will throw many things at you, many twists, many struggles, many joys, many loves, many failures, many successes you have a perspective that most don’t engage. From that perspective, you can understand that God is with us every step and that rebuilding or rebooting is just normal along the way. My son has accepted these learnings from this last year and that alone puts him on a different understanding and different road than any of his peers.
The Buddhists say that any time we suffer misfortune, two arrows fly our way. The first arrow is the actual bad event, which can can, indeed, cause pain. The second arrow is the suffering. We can’t change what comes, but we can try not to spend too much time worrying about what MAY come or ruminating about what HAS come.
Perspective is an amazing teacher. Working for almost 50 years as a FF and a Paramedic I learned perspective every day on the job. What was going on in my life was tiny when compared to the tragedies I encountered every day. People losing their homes, their farms, their lives, their loved ones. There is not much that rises to the level of that type of loss. Makes you value the things you have and realize that no matter what is going on in your life…it could be much worse.
This is very timely considering the state of the world today! “You’re steady like a rock when you accept the realities of life,” is such a simple but powerful statement. Thank you!
Great post and story. Reminds us all what is
important these days, most of which is not on our news stations and certainly not most social media. You really should consider a book of these types of personal, true stories.
Author of The People Zoo
No one ever said “life is fair’ my Father left me know that in no uncertain terms. The life we work for trying to achieve anything and everything is fragile and and can be gone in an instant. Be thankful for what you have today as tomorrow you could have nothing including ones life. Learning to pick yourself up time and time again builds the Grit that holds a rock firm! You never know until you walk in their shoes the sadness, pain and suffering that people endure and still keep on doing till their last breath. Look around the world and be thankful for what we have many others are so less fortunate. Great story Dan.
This is a great post today Dan! It reminds me of two books on this topic that are spot on to the advice you gave in your post: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and it is all Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, and Make Yourself Unforgettable by Dale Carnegie. Both of these books address parts of your story. Both are great reads.
Calls to mind Alan Watt’s classic book, “The Wisdom of Uncertainty” – all about that bottom line truth, that unless we can fully accept and engage what the present has for us, we will be chronically unhappy and anxious, and not understand why we cannot ever seem to every be otherwise.
Sorry – the correct title of the book I referenced is “The Wisdom of Insecurity.”
It is true but hard to remember at times
I love the idea about moving forward each day with every sunrise. When our adult daughter died unexpectedly last summer, we were of course shell-shocked. But she left behind 2 boys who needed us to help their dad raise them. Experiences like this (and the farm burning down that you referenced) do change a person. It gives you perspective and makes the things that once seemed important less dire; and enhanced the appreciation for the people, things and even time that we once took for granted. I love the picture you used for this post but the word “trivialities” bothered me somewhat. Even though our day to day lives are consumed by trivialities, we do have big events that we must deal with as each new day begins. So I wonder if this word choice minimizes the big things that happen for which we need to remain steady and push forward. Recently Dan Rather has begun a series of essays that he has named “Steady” which he also repeatedly used in his book, “What Unites Us.” Steady is an important message in today’s chaos. Even though I’m a day late commenting, it was worth writing even for myself. Thanks for this reminder.
Thanks Vicki. Congratulations for rising to the occasion. It’s not easy. Your story tugs at my heart.
You aren’t the first person to mention the use of trivialities. I agree it’s awkward. Perhaps there’s a better word. In any case, it seems we agree that tough times help us gain new perspectives. Things that seemed important don’t matter quite as much.
You can be sure that my grandparents realized that the buildings weren’t as important as they seemed. It was the relationships that sustained them.
You have my respect for your loss and for caring for your family. Life seems more precious when frailty comes knocking.
It is wonderful (albeit not always pleasant) when tragedy or misfortune puts our lives into perspective. My work in crisis management has always centered around being able to control what I can and consider but don’t waste time trying to change the things I can’t. But this post makes me realize I don’t practice this in my personal life the same way I do in my professional work. While I’m more than satisfied with moving past work hiccups and snafus, I have trouble moving past less-than-amazing performance of my own. This is my new phrase to use when I’m trying to move past something and can’t seem to let it go: “Acceptance isn’t approval.” I am generally way more forgiving of other people’s shortcomings or mistakes but do have a hard time of letting go or moving past my own. I’ll dwell on something for weeks (or months) and play it out over and over in my head. It’s a perfectionism bad habit, trying to replay the events so I can make absolutely sure I know what I could have or would have said in a hundred different other circumstances. Considering leadership, I’m not striking a sustainable balance of my stress levels. While it might look like I’m an empathetic leader on the outside, I’m struggling with too much of my own inner Morrison on the inside.
This article really got me cracking but also got me sober and thinking. However, more than that I see the way the creator uses events around us to change us for good over time. Fire had always been a purifier/cleanser either physically or as a spiritual symbol. Grandpa Morrison is a good malleable man who allowed himself to learn a lesson about life that many would have bungled, respond very negatively to and become excessively broken/damaged inward. I appreciate Grandpa’s courage to start all over again. That’s great inner strength; the stability and immovable nature and strength of a rock. I guess you have a rich heritage.
Thank you, Dan ROCKwell