The Cream Always Rises

“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.

Closeup of yellow blooming daffodils on blurred green backgroundI 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

10 Replies to “The Cream Always Rises”

  1. It might take a while, but I truly believe that the cream does rise to the top. Maybe not as quickly as we’d like or the way we would like, but it does rise. And good triumphs evil. That is what I pray for every day, and I am a believer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not easy to rise out of tragedy and adversity, Belinda. “Cream” is a beautiful metaphor and a lovely thing to strive for. Sometimes, it does feel like life involves constant churning. It’s nice to know that it can end up being uplifting if we maintain hope and stick with positivity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maintaining hope is so key for our own survival and if it helps others, that’s a bonus. My mom used to get mad at me for having a “Pollyanna” attitude, but I’m realistic about what’s going on around me. I just try to stay sunny side up! Thank you for your comments. I know they come from the heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a religious person who believes in the cream rising to the top as well. Faith and hope ride with me each day of my life. I used to be a pessimist when I was younger, but thank God I figured things out and righted the ship. If I can get to being “Pollyannaish” anybody can! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate your honesty, Belinda. Cream does rise to the top. While your certain friend may seem to sit in judgment, you have already proven the phrase. You rose above the insult and still treated her with grace by not letting loose. Sometimes that is what you have to do. God knows Belinda and continues to give you the strength and grace to rise. Some people try to be God, but Hallelujah they are not!

    Liked by 1 person

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