Dealing with cards you have been dealt

Early yesterday morning I heard from my friend of two years that she had been let go. It took me more than a minute to understand what she was saying. The first question that crossed my mind was “Why?”

Why indeed? For years, we have heard of people we know go through it. Yesterday was the first time someone I knew very well at work had to deal with it. I was in shock. I felt helpless. I did not know what was the right thing to do or say. Eventually I just did what felt right. Went to help her and spend time with her before she left. It affected me the whole day. I felt indignation, anger and helplessness, all in equal measure. While I knew she would do OK and would probably find another position before the week was over I couldn’t help wondering what it is like to be faced with a situation like that.

Sitting in the safety of my job I can think of a hundred things I could do if I were suddenly let go. Can I really ever be prepared for such a situation? I don’t know. More than the actual hurt from being asked to leave, the question that will trouble me is “Why me?” Finding another job will be easy but restoring my self confidence will take longer. Letting peers and friends know will be easier than letting family know. How do I tell my FIL that for reasons beyond my control I no longer have my job? The questions and restless thoughts are endless.

As times passes I realize life is not fair. To some it is the loss of a job. For others it is the loss of someone dear or the slow silent death of their marriage. For me it is the reality of infertility. We all in our own ways learn to deal with the cards we are dealt. To chin up and bounce back. To smile through the tears and look ahead with hope. Here is my ode to the everyday silent heroes. The ones that go about their life stumbling, falling, picking themselves up, dusting and walking away.

19 comments

  1. Really good one! So often we are so wrapped in our own lives and our day to day problems and issues, that sometimes we don’t realize how much other people are going through. In fact, some of us are so busy coping with issues everyday, may be a few years down the line, we would wonder at ourselves how we passed a certain phase and did what we did.

  2. I was kind of blue this morning. Your post helped me cheer up.
    Particularly the last line that led to “picking myself up, dusting and walking away”. thanks

  3. Touched a chord in me – the cards we are dealt with are not always to our benefit and the immediate question is “Why me?” which really has no answer. In these situations we usually have 2 choices – complaint and wallow in self-pity or as you so rightly said “to smile through the tears and look ahead for hope”. Hopefully we all have the courage and strength in us to think of the 2nd choice…

  4. Laksh, loved the last paragraph. Accepting that life is not fair, in some odd was, helps us to deal with the unfairness in a constructive manner. As you said, smiling through the tears and looking ahead with hope is the best survival strategy that one could have if one were to look beyond the unfairness and cherish the other aspects of life, which more or less seems to be fair. The trick is in not staring at the closed door so often that you will not see that small window open (writing this as a reminder to myself).

  5. Beautiful Laksh! Loved the last paragraph..
    Each one has his/her own struggles. After all where is the fun in life, without any challenges.

  6. Good post! AS you know, our family had recently gone through a similar situation that of your friend. The lesson learnt: “This too will pass”. Your support is very important to your friend at this time, don’t underestimate how important this is.

  7. Laksh, I have pondered this coz a colleague was let go a couple weeks back. I realized how big it is coz your health insurance runs out and imagine that happening to someone who is due to deliver shortly….(that person was a guy so no such thing in his life), but I imagined it happening to me and realized life is not in our control at all. The job and self esteem we can build back, even the money part we can anticipate and save….but the lack of health insurance is mind boggling…..cobra is very pricey and I know that coz my cousin had the same problems when he was let go and had to dish out loads of dough for simple flu checks at the hospital….

  8. Yet another moving post from you Laksh. I don’t think we will be able to find the answer for “Why Me?”

    Maybe it’s Karma. Atleast that’s what I think when I see my mother. She did not have a fairy tale childhood. She was a very good student, came school second but was not able to continue her education because her father died just after 10 days of starting college. Even though her college offered her scholarship for the books and fees, my grandmother was not ready to spend for the transportation also. So bad was their financial position. She preferred to provide education for her 2 sons. Then my mother got married and her life became even more miserable. She was taunted for not gaving a child even after 6 years of marriage and then I was born. Then the worst thing that could ever happen to a married woman happened and my father was killed in a train accident, when I was only 3. Now she had the responisibility of raising a girl child. She did a wonderful job. I can swear that I would not have had such an amazing life even if my father were alive. She put me first. She lived with her mother in law since her marriage for 37 years until she passed away last year. But what’s hurting me is even after she has gone through so much, she is not having peace of mind even now. She is facing some problem after the other, including her chronic knee pain. Why her? She is after all such a wonderful human being, who lends a helping hand to anybody and everybody who needs her help, both financially and physically. Why God is putting her through so much misery? Is it her Karma? Was she bad in her previous birth?

    When compared to her, I really don’t having anything to complain at all. But even then sometimes I feel depressed and low for no apparent reason and I just think about these lines:

    ‘Unakkum Keezhe Ullavar Kodi
    Ninaitthu Paarthu Ninmadhi Naadu’

    I love this song and if you want to listen it, check it here.
    http://ww.smashits.com/music/tamil/play/songs/2529/SUMAITHANGI/23841/Mayakkama.html

  9. Hey Laksh
    Yet another “heart touching” post!!!. It is beautiful and as all others have already commnented, specially the last paragraph!!!
    “This shall also pass” is the mantra!!!

  10. Madhu, hugs to you and am sure you have made your mom proud in many ways! That song that you had quoted is just perfect and that is my “taaraga mandiram” (holy verses, roughly translated) too. For the benefit of those who don’t know tamil, the song that Madhu had quoted means:
    “Crores are below you
    Attain peace (or comfort) in that thought”

  11. Good one! I usually don’t worry about day-to-day bad things because I have learnt from experience that one week down the line they won’t be so bothersome anymore. Unless its a really tragic situation, I don’t believe in cribbing at all. I went through some serious financial crisis back in 03-04 which ebbed my self-confidence and in general destroyed my joie-de-vive. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger 🙂 And today I think I appreciate what I have much better because of what I didn’t have back then 🙂

  12. Hi Lakshmi….Loved this post, I am a constant visitor to your site these days.The misfortune we encounter in our day to day lives is truly beyond our control. As someone said we just have two options wallow in self pity or bounce back. Life has taught me hard lessons and my mantra is ” The harder you fall, the higher you bounce”.

  13. A very touching post.Whenever i feel blue and think life is unfair,I think about people who had to undergo lots of hardships in life and thank god that i have been spared such a situation.I feel the same as many of the commentators above and i also agree with the mantra “The harder the hardships you encounter in life,the stronger you become.”

  14. @Rekha: I do that all the time. Some of what I call “worst” times in my life are phases I look back on now and smile.
    @Deeps: Glad I could help even if virtually. Hope all is sunny and cheerful in your world today.
    @Akay: You are one person I would slot most definitely in the second category. You are one hell of a strong person.
    @Suman: Absolutely right. I find peace only by accepting life is not fair and there is nothing I can do about it.
    @SK: Very true. Life is interesting only because of the riddles it throws at us.
    @Spillay: I know! I hope I can help my friend out in a way that is meaningful to her.
    @Arch: I had not thought of the financial implications when writing this since most of the people I know are two income households and definitely can manage for a few weeks on a single income. Now that you talk about it, it does seem all the more scary!
    @Madhuram: Your comment is straight from the heart and I thank you for sharing. Your mom is a strong person and am sure she is absolutely proud of having a daughter who thinks the world of her.
    @Hemani: Thanks! “Even this shall pass away” is one of my all time favorite poems.
    @Divya: Totally with you on “What does not kill you makes you stronger”. I think we are all better people for having been through tough times.
    @Sangeetha: Thank you! First time I am hearing of this adage. I quite like it. I hope I bounce back really high :p
    @Anila: Thank you. It is true. Each time you feel sad think of me ;p

  15. @Madhuram, that is the song my dad quotes often in our conversations ever since my childhood..I do see your point..

    @Laksh – yes, lovely post. Had a similar experience some years back. My heart was broken when my closest friend was laid off. But my friend did so good. She knew this was coming and was preparing for it behind the scenes. The lay off actually opened new doors for her and it turned out to be for her better. When you are cozy and comfortable at your work place, you don’t feel like moving out for the better. My friend surely benefitted by this change. I wish your friend good luck too.

  16. @A-Kay: Thank you so much. “Hugs” that’s what I need, a lot actually. If you don’t know already, my mother is coming here on the 18th of this month. So eagerly waiting for her arrival.

    @Laksh: Can’t wait to introduce you to her. See you in Sruthi’s b’day party. We have booked the tickets for friday night, 9.45pm show.

  17. Hi
    I am one of silent readers of your blog, but this post made me to comment…Your last paragraph is simply super….Hardsships make us stronger and We somehow learn to take life as it comes and try to enjoy the travel…

  18. @Loga: Thanks for delurking. Great to hear from you. Well said.. it is the journey that matters not the destination.

  19. Hey Lux, I was going through your archive just to read about this feeling. I was part of the people who were let go last week. It took a week to be back on track.

    @Manchus: Hugs!

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