Friday, April 17, 2009

In the Face of Disappointment

I'm a big fan of old musicals. The works of Rodgers & Hammerstein are some of my favorites. Thanks, in part, to my mother's love of these shows, I know most of the songs from their musicals. We watched the movies on TV, went to local stage productions of the shows and listened to their soundtracks when I was growing up. In college, I took a course on the 'History of the American Musical Theatre' as one of my liberal arts electives. I was a runner back then and would listen to the assigned musical scores as I did my daily workouts.

One of my favorite of the Rodgers & Hammerstein shows, has always been Oklahoma. I love the music and the story. "Aunt Eller" is my favorite character.

On Laurey and Curly's wedding day, tragedy strikes, and Curly is arrested for the murder of Judd Fry. Laurey is distraught and Aunt Eller is trying to comfort her. These immortal words are imprinted in my mind forever,

"You gotta get used to all kinds of things happening to you in life! You gotta be HARDY!" says Aunt Eller.

What part of us thinks that we are going to sail through life without disappointment or hardship? I sometimes think we expect life to easy and feel like we've done something wrong when it turns out to be difficult.

Life is full of 'all kinds of things happening to us' as Aunt Eller said. We need to become 'hardy' in order to roll with the punches and go with the flow. It's all part of life. No one has all good things happen to them, or all bad for that matter. Life is a mixed bag.

With age I think we are given the opportunity to learn to deal with the things that come our way with more grace, patience and dignity. We can learn to 'let things roll off us, like water off a duck's back,' to quote my teacher, Dr. Charles Bruni.

So next time you find yourself rocked by a disappointment or a difficult challenge, remember the message from that sweet little old lady in Oklahoma!

You gotta be HARDY!

Watch and listen to the theme song from the 1955 motion picture OKLAHOMA! here:

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