“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”
― Paulo Coelho
“A wise man once said…” How many times have you heard that expression? Quite often, I imagine. How many times have you heard, “A wise woman once said…”? Probably never.
Are women less wise then men, then? It’s been my experience that the opposite is generally true, it’s just that men tend to listen more to men then to women – probably because men tend to think alike, they mentally process things similarly – it’s that old “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” thing (from the book by that name, by John Gray, that explains how and why women and men deal with life in distinctly different ways.)
And that explanation is generally true. For example, when a stressful occasion arises, men tend to react aggressively with speech or action to resolve the issue, whereas women tend to react quietly and passively with contemplation to understand it. Case in point:
This past weekend the wife and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary in Monterey, California, one of our favorite haunts. As we left our hotel to return home, we activated our GPS – don’t really know why, we’ve been there so often we know the way out of town, back to the freeway and to home. But when we reached where we would normally turn, that bossy female GPS voice instructed us to continue straight. Now, I’m want to disregard her when I’m sure she’s wrong, but this time I listened.
It only took me five minutes or so, as she led us miles away from the freeway, through rolling farmland and pastures – quite picturesque, I admit – when it wasn’t where I wanted to be, to become stressed (and quite vocal – “Why, Why?!!” I kept repeating) over how this winding route could possibly (at 25 mph down a two lane stretch of miles of switchbacks) be a faster route (that I’d programmed the GPS to provide) than a 65 mph freeway.
The wife, ever the more calmest of we two, just kept telling me to relax, there had to be a reason why.
Which became apparent after some 30 minutes when the GPS lady steered us onto an overpass above the freeway we wanted originally and to the on ramp. Looking down, we could see miles of backed up traffic in all three lanes in the direction we wanted, bumper to bumper, because of road construction. Had we disregarded her in the beginning and followed our instincts to do as we’ve always done, we’d have been somewhere at the end of that mess and who knows how much time (and stress) it would have added to our trip (and my patience)?
“That’s why”, my wife observed. I told her I was sorry for my rant, and I apologized to the GPS lady, as well.
I learned a life lesson there – trust the GPS lady in the future. But that wasn’t the real wisdom I was to learn; that came from my wife a day later as we talked about it.
She told me that what had happened just illustrated that everything in life happens for a good reason, even if at the time we can’t see why or how, and we just need to accept it, ride it out, and in the end the reason will become apparent. We just need to be patient; getting stressed and angry is just wasted energy.
A wise observation from an uncannily, often very wise woman. My wife.
Another life lesson: I would be wise to listen to her more often.