Active, Passive

In my 20's, I worked for a man named Frank Cody. Frank has influenced my life in ways I can't even begin to repay, not the least of which was how he chooses to make meaning in his life. We often had a jokey "call and refrain" between the two of us that remains in my active lexicon (my friends will have heard me say this innumerable times): one of us would say "It'll be what it's going to be!" and the other would quickly reply "It's not going to be anything else!"

Life hands you things that you cannot control. "It'll be what it's going to be" is a handy refrain for those times - and the fact that I am writing this from an airplane at JFK on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is a poignant reminder. Recent events in my own personal life, however, prompt me to remember that "it'll be what it's going to be" is not a passive lament. Admitting that certain things are out of your control reflects a certain wisdom in accepting the cards you are dealt - but it doesn't mean you don't try to improve your hand, when you can.

I don't talk much about my personal life, but I'm currently going through a divorce. I have a young boy. Friends tell me over and over that he'll be ok. Millions of kids go through divorce. They are ok. I know this. But yesterday I got a sharp reminder that you don't merely wait for things to be "ok." Things "turn out" the way they turn out, but they turn out a lot better when you have done all you can to increase the odds.

And anyway, I don't want him to be "ok."  I want him to be spectacular. I want that for me, too. For today, I am unutterably sad. Tomorrow, though, I process this. I do a little reading. I talk to some friends. I figure this out. I do the work to give me - and my son - the best possible odds. Only when you know in your heart that you have done this, can you then say with a clear conscience that "it'll be what it's going to be." Acceptance of the present doesn't preclude planning for the future.

I'm going to be more than ok. So will he. It's not going to be anything else.

3 responses
As the future wife of someone who went through a breakup with a young son, I see every week what it looks like when a kid ends up much more than okay. He is open, funny, kind, and welcomed me from the first day he met me, which kind of bent my mind in half in the very best way. I think that happens when parents do what you're going to do.

And as far as your own boy is concerned, he is his father's son... which means amazing is in his bones.

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