“The cream always rises,” a favorite college professor of mine used to tell his classes, and like fools, we thought he meant if ever you were unemployed, or underemployed, you’d end up getting a great job. If you were top-notch, that is, and we all thought we were. Or at least hoped we were.
While there may be some truth to our naïve beliefs, having a superlative job isn’t everything. And it certainly wasn’t what our professor was referring to. He was close to retirement himself and had seen a long line of promising students fall victim to family tragedy, mental illness, physical illness and the like, compromising their ability to get the superior job they believed they were capable of tackling.
Still, they were cream, and they rose.
I have a friend, also from college, whose husband has ALS. Her honesty about the heartbreak and her integrity toward her family is a shining example of rising. Another college friend went through a series of tragedies, too much to detail here, and in her darkest moments she told me this just wasn’t what she expected out of life. Both women have persevered and are role models for me of how life will change you, one way or the other, and it’s up to you how you handle it.
Of course this isn’t a new thought and I’ve heard it, time and again. I’ve hoped that I’ve met life head on and come out ahead, even if my job is less than I expected, and I don’t know what I’ll do if I lose my car to an accident or whatever. But until now that’s just been hope.
I was discouraged the other day by disparaging words from yet another friend from college, someone who couched her thoughts in what I call God talk. Now, I’m a woman of faith, but not her kind of faith, which she believes is the only kind to have. She smiled while she spoke to me and basically questioned whether or not I had ever truly been a Christian.
Crying–yet also quite angry–I texted the friend who’d had the series of tragedies in her life. She amazed me. She told me I had been an example to her. Me? I was shocked. Now, I’ve been through my fair share (haven’t we all) but I never thought of myself as Cream That Rises. When I told her about that saying, she laughed and said, “I think we’re both cream.”
You just never know. I can tell you this, those who sit in judgment are not cream.
Image Credits: Boy raising hands ©beerphotographer–stock.adobe.com; Daffodils ©Aul Zitzke–stock.adobe.com