That's what separates the grown-ups from the children. Knowing that there's no one else who can solve the problem is the scary side of the equation. Recognizing that you have the skills and the power to take control of the situation is the uplifting piece, the part that successful adults embrace with relish.
We spent the weekend with some new, old friends. We heard about them at the same time, years ago, from HDK. First one to see him was TBG, then he came to visit the desert with a really odd companion, and then he brought her along. The relationship kept getting better and better the more time we spent together.
They drive from the boondocks in Northern California to our oasis in the desert; the pool beckons before the suitcases are unpacked. No one minds that the heater is still un-repaired; the water is wet and that's all that matters. We are laughing and nodding and feeling at ease, as I wonder how it is that some couples just slide into our lives with nary a bump. We're different, we're the same, we're relaxed.
They're raising an unplanned for grandson, and never has one little boy been surrounded by so much love. There are grandparents and parents and aunts and 250 acres of woodlands to roam. Their property is home to creeks and crops and the occasional wandering cow from just up the hill.
Our friend cuts the wood they need to keep them warm in the winters. He taught himself the skills he needed to create a life in the country; Jewish boys from Chicago-land don't pick these things up from their family and friends. He had a vision of what life could be. He made it so.
Life hasn't been without its roadblocks and speed bumps and head-long crashes into disaster. No one is getting any younger, and wood isn't getting any easier to chop. There are decisions to be made, choices to be pondered, discussions to be had. Watching them listen to one another, consider the other before reacting, grapple with serious facts without running away - it was a workshop in Getting Through It 101.
There wasn't any whining, though there was much rueful shrugging of shoulders. No one thought the issues would disappear if they weren't discussed. No one was running away. There weren't any solutions without consequences. Not all the consequences are pleasant. We talked. We thought. They shared a smile that only those who've walked a long road together can share.
They are a lesson in optimism and resilience and doing what's right. I'm doing my best to learn.