Adversity elicits a number of emotional responses from individuals. There is a complete spectrum of individual responses to adversity from seeking to overcome those issues to being engulfed by the issues facing us. How we approach our daily life can help determine our responses to adversity, since we most often react out of habit. Let’s look at something as simple as traffic on the road. When traffic congestion brings you to a stop on your daily commute you will see the responses of individuals along the adversity spectrum. There are those that simply relax, slowly move with traffic and merely accept that there are going to be occasional delays along the way. Perhaps those individuals find solace in having an opportunity to see the surroundings they drive past daily with more detail or read a few advertisements along the road that they have driven past without seeing for months. Then there are those that have to move forward sneaking into every opening in the adjacent lanes, struggling to get ahead. Others may just take the next exit and look for an alternate route. If they were using technology, WAZE may have already informed them of an issue well ahead of time and they never reached the congestion due to planning ahead. Regardless of the response, the level of stress that accompanies any adverse situation is directly connected to those physical and emotional responses.
Sometimes in our lives, adversity can hit in many different ways. I had never been very good at dealing with those issues and most often it affected my relationships with family and friends. It took a major change in life to begin to put those responses to adversity into perspective. After Suzy’s accident, we were down to a one income family for quite some time, medical bills piled up, work was a struggle, and it was difficult to find the money to keep our family on track. It was at dinner on a particularly bad day. Our family was sitting around the dinner table and it just seemed that problem after problem kept creeping into our conversation. It was at that point that Suzy stated, “Well, at least we have red jello for dessert.” When things got bad, she was always able to look toward any little positive to brighten a day and try to help us change course. It became a joke in years to come, the worst of days were always considered red jello days because that was the motivator to look for a new path, or a new direction, or even a new attitude to start moving in a positive direction.
Red jello days are no longer considered bad days, instead they are days to focus on positive change. They help us reflect on the positive things that are happening in our lives and help to redirect us to move forward. As you journey through life, bad things are going to happen, issues are going to have to be dealt with, and adversity may strike. Red jello is our way of reminding ourselves that there is still positive in our life regardless of all the issues we may face along the way.