At some point in everyone’s life, the way ahead seems really tough. In the case of my father, there was a terrible ten-year drought running from the late 1940’s to the late 1950s. This drought had far reaching repercussions, not just in Texas, where lots of ranchers and farmers lost their land, but across other parts of the country as well.
Years later, my father and I were talking one day about that awful period. He told me that he had been at his wit’s end, not sure if he would be able to survive, when he realized he just had to stop ranching. For a while. And as ranchers do, hope for rain. But hope wasn’t enough. He had to have a way to stop, and then start up again. A rancher he knew was looking to find a place for his son to lease, and my father offered him our ranch for three years. He leased the ranch from my father, the weather finally changed, my father took possession again and continued for decades doing what he loved.
My father recounted to me that this lease was the single, smartest thing he ever did in his six decades of ranching. The lesson I took from it was that he thought outside the box…or in this case…outside the pastures…and saved his ranch and his livelihood. In my mind, it was as though one door appeared to be locked tightly shut against a path he wanted, yet he found a way to keep going. He was focused on the future, a future he wanted both for himself and his family, and he found a different way.
The tenacity this Texan showed left an indelible imprint on me for my own life. When something seems impossible, I just think back to how he solved it. I have learned to believe that there is always another way. Always. Life is uncertain, with strange twists and turns, yet it can turn out just as good but perhaps unexpectedly.
For any of us, we need to be open to a different ‘out of the box’ thinking to solve problems. If life is going to hand us a big old bunch of lemons, get out the pitcher and start making lemonade. Each one of us can do it. Sometimes we don’t see the way clear at first, but just keep looking.
Has something like this happened to you?