Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Life is Like That

Happy Birthday, Mom!My mother, Creola Kincaid Lewis, was a woman of great wisdom and common sense. I was fortunate to have her influence in my life. She had an optimistic–sometimes an unrealistic and foolishly optimistic–way of looking at everything, and a spiritual faith that assumed her optimistic view would come true if she prayed about it and worked at it. And, it usually did! A philosophical approach of hers that I most remember was her ability to say, “Life is like that,” and make it apply to almost anything.

Analogies and metaphors can be very effective in training–although they have to be used carefully because they usually break down at some point and many students will jump on the part that is not applicable. Mother often used analogies and metaphors in the teaching she did at church, and I assume she either purposely looked for examples or she habitually looked at life in that way.

I learned a lot about living and working from listening to Mom as she would observe something and say, “Life is like that.” Then, she would elaborate on the thought, and I would realize she was exactly correct–life was like the situation she had observed. Sometimes she would make it more of a question, “Don’t you think life is like that?” Once, when I was being obnoxious for some reason, I stubbornly said, “No, I don’t think life is like that.” She didn’t seem offended, she just smiled assuredly and said, “I do. And one of these days you will too.” I am sure I did!

I will not take you through the hundreds of memories I have of life being like this or that, but I will give you a short list and you can decide what my mother’s thought processes might have been. Some were obvious, some were obscure, some were very serious and many were meant to be outrageously over-done and amusing. However, she made all of them perfectly logical, and each was a learning moment for me and a teaching moment for her.

*A light bulb burning out with a ping! and sudden darkness. (That’s an easy one, right? One minute we’re burning brightly and the next, our light is gone.) Mother said this: “Wouldn’t we be silly to sit in the dark hoping the bulb will light up again? Life is like that. Sometimes things are over and done, but people sit around hoping something or someone will magically make it the way it was. Instead, they should do something about it themselves. Go get a light bulb, Tina, and let’s get the light back on.” Probably hackneyed and overly dramatic–but I was about seven years old and I still remember it!

*A charred, empty catsup bottle. (My mother burned her hand trying to get it out of the trash my brothers were incinerating.) “I should have known there was a reason it was in the trash–it was trash! Life is like that. I’ve gotten burned the most over things I would have known weren’t worth the pain, if I hadn’t been in such a hurry to grab them without really looking.”

*A four-leafed clover. “Think about that, Tina. There are millions of three-leafed clovers and you could have found one of those easily. Instead, you spent all day stepping on the three-leafed kind to find one with four. Life is like that. You’ll step on things that are perfectly fine, trying to find something that seems better just because it’s hard to get. Sometimes that’s a good idea but a lot of times it isn’t.” I was ten years old and I asked, “How does a person know whether they should do that or not?” She said, with a shocked tone, “How would I know? I’m too busy coming up with these intellectual thoughts!”

*A wrong number on the phone; getting lost; falling on the ice; cleaning; oversleeping; someone acting unpleasant; forgetting to turn on the stove when baking a cake; organizing a closet; cats; a recliner; cooking; and, of course, all the seasons and all the times of day and everything in nature!

I do not want you to think my mother philosophized or made inane comparisons excessively, because she did not. However, it seemed she never overlooked anything that life is like-and there were a lot of those things! Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother’s birthday (March 31, 1910). She has been gone for close to ten years. As you may know, you tend to think of a loved one more than ever on special dates. Yesterday I thought about her “Life is like that” conversations.

In her honor I am going to spend some time this week finding things about which I can make maudlin, outrageous, ridiculous, overly-dramatic, sentimental or introspective comparisons to life.  I have already discovered that although Mom made it looked easy because she had years of practice and a natural gift for it, it is not as easy as I thought it would be. 

Hmmmmmm. I think life is like that!

April 1st, 2008 Posted by | Life and Work | 9 comments


  1. Aha! Now I see where you get some of your traits! She sounds like a smart woman who as fun to be around. She did a good job with her daughter!

    I know what you mean about remembering birthdays of our parents. We still have a special dinner every year even though my mom died fifteen years ago. I’m sure your mother knows you have written about her. Happy Birthday, Creola!

    Comment by Wiseacre | April 1, 2008

  2. Tina, this is a beautiful tribute. I see where you get your way of looking at things! My mother is still living and hopefully will be for a lot of years, but we don’t have a close relationship like you and your mother had. From what you have said, you and your daughter have a close relationship too, which is really wonderful. Thank you for sharing! I’ve been trying to think of life is like that things all morning but so far my thoughts haven’t been very deep! D.

    Comment by denisek | April 1, 2008

  3. This was great! Your mother and mine should have spent time together! I once told my mother she was like living with Forest Gump! (Life is like a box of candy, etc.) But it was fun and often inspirational, as you mention. I’m sure you will be flooded with “Life is like that” thoughts!

    If I may comment on your blog, I like the mixture of posts. I’m not a big fan of blogs but this is a lot like an ezine. Good job!

    Comment by TheTwoDaniels | April 1, 2008

  4. Thanks to those who left comments already, and those who emailed me directly! The common theme of all of them has been that my mother sounded like she would be fun–and she was! She had a tremendously funny way of looking at things.

    Some of you who have attended training classes have heard me talk about my mother, and I have mentioned that she had a bawdy thought process that she would never express. She once said, “I don’t know why the Lord gave me a heart that wants to serve Him, but a mind that is so smutty.”

    And, thanks to TheTwoDaniels (and others) for the comment about the site. I have refused to call it a blog, because I want it to be more of an online training site. But the personal posts will be included now and then as well.

    I’m still learning how to make it exactly what I want it to be, but the process of learning has been interesting and has helped me in many other aspects of my work.

    Uh oh! I think life is like that! 🙂 Tina

    Comment by Tina | April 1, 2008

  5. Was your mother a closet Latin American? In Spanish we have an extremely common expression that is exactly the same – Así es la vida. Most of the time it is used as an expression of Latin American fatalism. Your Mom was wise enough to draw attention to some of life’s beautiful details, analogies and lessons. Great post as always!

    Comment by Jeff Adams | April 1, 2008

  6. Thank you, Jeff, for reading and commenting! I know you are in Argentina right now, so you must surely be busy and exhausted! But think of it this way….every place you look you get to see my name! 🙂

    ACHS 1964 4ever!

    Comment by Tina | April 1, 2008

  7. Tina;

    I know to well; the loss of a Mother (1997). A friend, confidant, and teacher. I love the fact you use her quotes………”Life is like that”…..how true it is. You have a lot of your Mother’s special qualities!! Your Mom would be so proud of you today!!

    Memories……….a fuel for life. Becky 425

    Comment by BHPD-Becky | April 5, 2008

  8. Thank you, Becky! I love that thought: Memories…a fuel for life. I sat and looked at that for a long time and thought about how very, very true it is! Thanks again. Tina

    Comment by Tina | April 5, 2008

  9. Tina……..you’re welcome and as far as I know, I am the owner of “Memories…a fuel for life.” It just came to my mind after reading about your mom and after thinking about the tough years. Feel free to use it. 🙂

    Take care; Becky 425

    Comment by BHPD-Becky | April 12, 2008

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