Cope: Deal Effectively with Something Difficult

Yesterday, we ordered tickets for Les Miserables. This morning my husband noticed that I had ordered them for the wrong day. No refunds, no exchanges. All sales final. I felt miserable. I started wondering, if I get this frustrated with little things, how am I supposed to cope with the BIG things?

When faced with hard questions, where do I turn?
The dictionary, so I looked up “cope” and found out it means to “deal effectively with something difficult” (The New Oxford American Dictionary).

Right away, I knew I was in trouble because this definition posed another question, “How effective are my coping skills?” 
I paused my search, went to the fridge, pulled out the Hershey’s chocolate syrup (the only chocolate in the house) and made myself a mocha, complete with whipped topping and sprinkles.
 
 

Returning to the definition, I read through to the origin of the word. The roots of this word made me grin. From Middle English, it means to “meet in battle” or “come to blows.” Coping is a battle. It makes sense that often, while I am coping with difficulties, I want to smack someone or something in the face.

It gets better; the noun version of cope is a cloak. Figuratively speaking, when I cope I am hiding, covering or disguising my pain.

Definitions thrill my soul, a close second to a creamy mug of mocha.
I started thinking of ways we try to cope, and this acronym poem poured out of my pen.

At the end of the…

Running
Out  of
Plans to
Engage.
 

We turn to…

 
Dulling
Our
Perception with
Escape.

Or we can…

Call

Out to God!
Pummel the
Enemy!

Which leads to…

Having

Our
Perspective
Enlarged.

 

After all my soul searching this morning, I turned to the Psalms. And this one fit perfectly with all my other musings. God knows what we need to cope! His very words define life so well!

O Lord, look how my enemies have increased!
Many are attacking me.
Many are saying about me,
“Even with God on his side,
he won’t be victorious.”           Selah
But you, O Lord, are a shield that surrounds me.
You are my glory.
You hold my head high.
I call aloud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.                         Selah
 
I lie down and sleep.
I wake up again because the Lord continues to support me.
I am not afraid of the tens of thousands
who have taken positions against me on all sides.
 
Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
You have slapped all my enemies in the face.
You have smashed the teeth of wicked people.
Victory belongs to the Lord!
May your blessing rest on your people.          Selah
 
Psalm 3 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
 
 
 
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10 thoughts on “Cope: Deal Effectively with Something Difficult

  1. Kel, you and I love etymology and meaning. And we all do stuff like that–order wrong tickets on wrong days, or lose tickets altoghter (thank goodness for credit cards, when the purchase can be traced). COPE. The richness of the meaning will help you devise a helpful battle plan. Admittedly, I always had thought of coping as resignation and inactivity, as just hanging on by a thread, by the skin of my teeth, hoping to make it! You've opened me eyes. So, I need to fight. And for a # of reasons, I think I am in a spiritual battle. Thank you for this courageous reminder. And I will take a cup of tea with me to battle. As you well know by now from our Starbucks Play Station, I"m a teetotaler (I know that means something a bit different from the way I'm using it, but I love my Barry's Irish Gold or Twining's English Breakfast)!lynni

  2. Lynni- I imagine you with your piping hot tea, sitting and contemplating strategies to win your current battle…of course, one of the best strategies God offers is to be still and watch Him be victorious…or to sing songs of Praise! BTW…the ticket thing worked out, both of our sons could go on the wrong day 🙂 So no worries after all 🙂 I was afraid one of them wasn't available,that's why we had chosen the first day…and it ends up being a blessing because now we are going on Saturday, which will be less hectic than a Tuesday evening and these were the better seats. God knew all along what was best for us 🙂

  3. Kel, the acronymns you found are powerful–"Call out to God and Pummel the Enemy" and the Hope one, well, wow.Isn't God grand? And I love his word (and the dictionary). If I had a million dollars I buy the Oxford English set (but where would I put them?)Wonderful post!(and I'm hoping you enjoy Les Mis whenever it is–I've seen it twice. It'still the most moving, God-filled play I've ever seen.)

  4. Your poem is brilliant. I attended a conference on grieving a while back that sort of dissed "coping". Te speaker said that rather than cope, the healthier thing to do in the long run is "deal". But sometimes, I need me a good old fashioned "cope" until I am ready to deal.

  5. Jody- As we are finding out we like a lot of similar things…the dictionary is the best…our library has a free electronic version of the OED. We are going to see Les Mis tonight…our second time! I love the redemption motif, too 🙂

  6. Laura- thanks…I was surprised by the more positive meaning of cope…I think cope has been given a bad rap…I am for coping now…dealing with things is good, too, though 🙂

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