When Trouble Strikes

Lemony Snicket’s instructions are no-nonsense:

“When trouble strikes,” the author wrote, “head to the library.”

Those times when trouble, crisis, or a plain old problem comes to town, it’s tempting to head for the hills or retreat under the covers.

But Mr. Snicket has something different in mind: Mr. Snicket has a plan for meeting trouble.

It’s a pragmatic idea. Because it’s not if trouble strikes, it’s when trouble strikes. Trouble – in some unscheduled form or unanticipated fashion – will strike.

Milk spills, wallets vanish, holidays derail, families fight. We can tiptoe around life, doing our level best to avoid trouble. And when trouble finds us, flat-footed and resistant, it can crack us like an egg.

Or we can be a bit more hard-boiled about it. We can have a plan. A plan to roll with trouble, rather than be cracked by it.

It may be heading to the library. Author Madeleine L’Engle took a walk, opera singer Renée Fleming calls mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. Whatever form it takes, a plan anchors the mind and heart as trouble blows through.

There’s no guarantee that a plan will get any of us through trouble unscathed. Likely it won’t. And in being scathed, we get both scars and wisdom.

Rather, a plan is a belief, in actionable form, that we can handle trouble. No matter how vast and unsettling trouble may be, we can rise up into it and not be irreparably broken down by it.

We can walk forward into our life, not tiptoe around it.

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