Perspective

first drafted October, 2015

It changes. Perspective.

And when it does, it’s powerful.

Sometimes our perspectives change because we seek out an alternative view. Other times the change just happens. The power of a shift in viewpoint typically isn’t seen in the moment it happens. Most of the time our understanding of a shift in viewpoint happens after-the-fact. Although, we experience all types of changes, the moments or events in life in which we choose to see the world differently affects us deeply and creates opportunity for others’ lives to change. That’s when clarity pushes us out of our comfort zone. That’s when we can allow events and ideas to carry us into the next adventure of our lives instead of passively accepting complacency.

I’ll be the first to admit…I used to be 100%, totally, irrevocably resistant to change. Routine and predictability were comfortable. I relied upon them. I’m not talking about changing detergent or my hair…I had a fear of changing something at the core of me. Let’s face it. A lot of us don’t think we are the ones that need adjusting. It’s hard to accept the fact that we need to “put ourselves in others’ shoes”. Control is hard to let go of. But, in the past couple of years, I made the effort to choose to see change differently.  It was hard. Taking the first step seems scary because our faith doesn’t catch us immediately. Listen. Choose to jump. Choose to see things differently. Change your lenses and believe faith will carry you.

Not all changes in our lives stand out as BIG moments; not all changes in our lives spark emotion; not all changes in our lives take place in a matter of seconds. Some opportunities for change show up like a toddler with a stomach virus at 3 a.m. Suddenly, fiercely, inescapable. I had a moment like this. A take-your-breath, punch-to-the-gut kind of moment. And I chose to change my perspective. It rocked me to my core and yet brought a sense of peace to me that grounded me in an instant.

So, most of ya’ll know this about me…but for those who don’t, I’m a coach’s wife. My husband coaches college wrestling, men’s and women’s. He travels A LOT. From late October to…well, let’s just say March (Although you fellow coaches wives know it’s all year long) he is gone almost every weekend. It used to be hard. It used to consume my thoughts…how hard it was…until the opportunity to view things differently saved me from myself. It was cold, snowing…and I had been in the house alone with my kids for days. My husband was on a trip. And I missed him. 8 years into marriage, two kids deep, life happening all around, chaos creeping into every day and leaving me drained. I was just surviving and I felt defeated…and it was haaaarrrdddd. Before kids, I traveled with him everywhere. To every tournament. To every dual. To every match. It was fun. It was exactly where I wanted to be every single weekend. After kids…well, someone was ALWAYS sick or tired…And I missed everything. Most of all, I missed being part of it. I missed sharing experiences with my husband. Honestly, I still miss a lot. I miss most…but it’s different. I chose to change the way I felt about him being gone.

I read a book titled The Coach’s Wife by Carolyn Allen. Yeah, real interesting title, right? Honestly, I took one look at the cover and almost didn’t read it. But I teach English, and I tend to analyze a book cover. The cover didn’t strike me as serious…and I needed serious. I needed Jesus serious. Nonetheless, I read it. In two days. And I’ve read it three times since. I’ll be honest. I was offended by this author. She is raw. She is honest. And she made me feel bad. But it was truth. While I was home, wishing I was at a wrestling tournament, missing my husband….I had failed to think about all that he was missing…the bathtime, bedtime stories, crazy requests for things that didn’t exist, and all the moments at home that can’t be captured on a photo app. She made me feel bad, ya’ll. She spoke to me…and I chose to change my perspective. I chose, at that moment, to look at things differently. And…it absolutely changed my life. I’m telling you. Every high school and collegiate athletic director should insist this be part of the hiring process. “Oh, you want to coach here? You have a wife or you plan on getting married one day? Take this. You’re welcome.” This book opened my mind, and I decided to change my viewpoint. I decided to consider a perspective I had been missing…a change. I had failed to see the flip side. I had failed to try to understand. I had failed to consider how blessed I was to get to be here, at home, experiencing the little things. I was selfish and I was resentful. And I was wrong. His calling in life is bigger than him…it’s bigger than either of us. He has changed lives. He is making a difference. And I admire that about him. I am proud that he overcomes obstacles that most people could never face. He is honoring his calling…and he is…basically phenomenal. I respect that. I am proud of him for that.

I’ll be honest, being a coach’s wife is not for the weak. It is not for quitters. It is not for everybody. It is a lifestyle that most people will never understand. I honestly didn’t understand it for a long time. Let me rephrase that…I didn’t appreciate the experience for a long time. I didn’t see the bigger picture.  But…I am proud. I am proud of my husband, the coach…and I am proud of me, a strong woman…capable of keeping it together when my partner in crime is away. And eventhough I’m not present at matches, duals, tournaments, etc. I yearn to be part of his experience. He comes home…and we talk. I feel every loss, every win, every minute of every match in which he coaches. I wathc online and text him as if we were running our own “real-time” SportsCenter program. He will ask if I saw a particular pin or move, and I’ll respond.  I look forward to him getting in from a trip and hearing about what happened. I appreciate the conversations we have after the “dust has settled”…and, while I may not be in the stands like I want to be, I feel connected to his athletes…because HE chooses to include me. I hear people say, “How do you do what you do…without your husband?” Well…my response to them is…I made a decision to stop “wishing” my coach was home…and started understanding the bigger picture. God has called him to do this. There’s a reason for this experience. Perspective changed. Life altered.

My point is…there are things that happen in our lives that we could be upset over, angry, resentful. But…we can choose to change our perspective, our viewpoint. We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves and resent the life we live…OR…we can embrace the experience we are given and choose to see it differently. Is it hard? Yes. It’s not a one time decision. It’s a daily decision. It’s a choice you make every. single. day. You can choose the upside…or the downside. Choose to see both sides. Choose to change your perspective.

It’s all about perspective. We can change it at any time. You are and always have been in control of your viewpoint. You are the captain of your own ship. You always (well, 99% of the time) have a choice. Is MY personal example for everyone? No. Bottom line. Live the life you want to live. Consider the fact that everything is a choice. And, then you’re life might change. My advice? Never underestimate the power of choosing; Never underestimate the power of changing your viewpoint. You’ve honestly got nothing to lose. #coach’swife

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