“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails” ~William Arthur Ward
As family members and friends we often adjust our lives and schedules to meet the needs of others. We give up lucrative careers to spend more time with our children. We move to be closer to aging parents. We take leaves of absence from jobs to tend for ailing friends. We become caregivers of loved ones with disabilities or terminal illnesses. We take on second jobs to pay our children’s college tuitions. We lose our jobs and have to spend our savings. Our retirement plans are put on hold due to loss of 401ks. Our children have medical, alcohol, drug, or other problems that incur medical or legal fees. Our grown children move back home. We end up raising our grandchildren. Our lives take unexpected twists and turns. We make adjustments when and where necessary.
When I hear people speak of the sacrifices they’ve made in their lives I often detect a stitch of bitterness, a twinge of regret, a sense of blame. I wonder if they were forced into these decisions.
We make choices every day. Sometimes we trade one thing for another.
When I hear the word sacrifice I think of soldiers who put their lives on the line for our freedom. In everyday living our adjustments seldom compare to battling for our lives.
The word sacrifice means a loss has incurred, something has been sold below value. What is the price tag for these adjustments we make? When we say we’ve sacrificed our time for someone else are we saying our time is more valuable than theirs? Do we feel victimized? If we’re going to be resentful perhaps it’s a decision we shouldn’t make.
There is a saying that we become the choices we make. Granted, choices and changes do not always come easy. However, we embody the grace in which we perform these actions.
Some people make sacrifices/adjustments/choices/changes I would be unwilling or reluctant to make or would cause me bitterness. Of course, this shows my true colors. Hats off to those of strength and courage. This is not to say I’ve never done things for others I didn’t want to do, nor is it saying I’ve never complained about these choices. Maturity has brought the realization resentment has no place in a life of peace.
Personally I haven’t made any sacrifices in my life. I’ve traded higher paying jobs for ones of less stress and better hours. I’ve also quit working to be home with my children. I decided against a return to college due to financial and time restraints, not to mention stress. Maybe I consider these to be minor adjustments because the benefits far outweighed the losses.
When I make a decision I try not to base it on sides, theirs or mine; if possible I do what I do for the good of all. If that is not an acceptable judgment, it’s time for me to make another adjustment…my attitude. I’m far from perfect, and make as many mistakes as the next guy. However, my attempt at simply replacing the word sacrifice with adjustment brings a sense of calm in the midst of chaos and emotion.
Family requires one to learn how to stretch and constrict as needed. Each of us continually shape thus resulting in changes which necessitate modifications in living arrangements and financial conditions. Doing these things in the name of love certainly makes adjustments more agreeable.
There is a Ghandi quote saying that if a sacrifice causes sorrow it is not a sacrifice as a sacrifice should bring one peace of mind.
When someone requests compensation, does it negate the sacrifice and make it a trade?
Let’s hear from you. What is your sacrificial lamb? Time? Money? Possessions? Comfort? Peace of mind? Was your sacrifice tangible? Do you feel you’ve made sacrifices or adjustments in your life? Do you have any regrets? Do you feel you must be compensated for your efforts? Were your rewards priceless?