“Babe, I am so proud of you. I am so proud of you. Like so, so proud.”
These were the words I kept repeating ad nauseam to my husband who had just successfully changed the battery in our van.
“What? Why?” he asked with a confused grin.
I’m pretty sure he’d agree that changing a car battery is not exactly rocket science—and certainly not something that warranted the amount of accolades I was heaping onto him. Until I explained why.
My husband and I have two very different responses when something goes amiss. I hit the panic button. He calmly dons his metaphorical white coat and, much like the scientific method, begins to observe, measure, experiment, and test until an explanation is found.
So when the car refused to start that morning, my first response was to get it towed ASAP to the mechanic and leave it in their expensive, yet trusty hands. My husband however began the process of first consulting the car manual and charging the battery. When the car still refused to start, he removed the battery and took it to an auto store to have it tested to confirm its “kaput-ness.”
When they gave him a thumbs up that it was indeed dead, he contacted our mechanic who had replaced said battery only four months prior and that was still under warranty, received the replacement free of charge, and then re-installed it on his own, turning down their gracious offer to charge us labor to install the free battery.
Eh, voila. Problem solved.
“I’m proud of you,” I answered back, “because you didn’t make the last resort your first resort.”
As the words left my mouth it felt like a truth bomb had just exploded in our kitchen.
What I meant by that was that unlike my typical modus operandi, he didn’t just throw his hands up and head straight for the bat phone. He didn’t throw a “Hail Mary” pass or pull the goalie off the net. Instead of jumping to extreme or final measures to solve a problem, he chose instead to exercise patience over panic and trust the process….beginning with step one.
So many times I find myself wanting to skip the “process” and just get to the end results. As a little girl, I wanted to sit down at a piano and play like Beethoven but skip all the musical theory it would take to get me there.
As a parent, I want to rush my sick kids to the doctor to get the meds I think they need instead of exhausting all of my resources and knowledge first.
In my relationships as a spouse, sibling and a daughter, I want to quickly get to the “I’m sorry” part of the conversation and hug it out so we don’t have to linger too long in the uncomfortable parts of the conversation that require us to wrestle with our hurt and misunderstandings.
I’m the Queen of quick fixes.
But what I’m quickly realizing is that when you go straight for the shortcut, you lose something in the process. You miss out on an opportunity to grow. You don’t allow for mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned. You bypass the journey that strengthens, builds confidence, and brings healing.
Friends, let’s not make the last resort our first resort.
Let’s trust the process, take it step by step, and put in the work that needs to be done…so that at the end of the day (or whatever trial you are facing), we are becoming better, wiser, and more mature versions of ourselves—versions that we can truly be proud of.