Heart to Heart
Personal from Pappa Joseph
Men and women are born for trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards, so says an ancient scripture. All the power of positive thinking a person has acquired so he can be in control of his emotional state, all the preparations and precautions he has taken to cushion himself against trouble in his life, all the how-to manuals he has read to be happy and successful – they all fail pathetically when a calamity strikes his life.
I believe that many of you who are reading this have experienced at least once in their life the level of pain or sorrow that nothing at that time could have comforted you or reduced your suffering. You just had to endure it alone until the passage of time softened or healed that deep emotional wound.
The loss of a member of the family, or betrayal by a spouse, or a disaster that wipes out all a person’s carefully laid out plans for life…what can the bereaved, the betrayed, and the victimized really do at such times? Nothing that can alleviate the pain.
Nothing can make a personal calamity go away or reduce its impact on your emotions, but there is certainly something you can do to endure the pain more courageously, which can also help you confront such troubles boldly in the future. That something is the realization that there are still many other things which you havent lost yet, and that you can start redeeming those blessings and opportunities from today on before they too are gone.
When a devastating trouble strikes a person, that person is never the same again for the rest of his or her life. The afflicted man or woman will either become a more understanding, a more patient, and a more appreciative person inside, or he or she becomes an embittered, disgruntled escapist – always fickle, always trying to elude reality by overindulgence in eating and drinking, promiscuity, excessive socializing, or even total seclusion from society.
How will your present trouble – if you are going through one – affect you in the long run?
Are there activities and pursuits in your life which appear so pressing and important today, but which, when a life-shaking disaster occurs, will expose their worthlessness? Does the loss of a job, or the problems at your workplace with some colleague, or an injury done to you by a relative, or the lack of money to do the things you have always wanted to do, cause you a lot of agitation and sleeplessness today?
In comparison, how about the loss of your spouse’s trust in you, or the loss of your child to drugs or to some lifelong debility? How about the death of a childhood friend, or the deprivation of one of your senses – perhaps your sight, or hearing, or mobility?
This may seem like a familiar anecdote, but I have actually whined in the past because I didn’t have an extra pair of shoes, until I actually met and befriended a happy man who couldn’t use his feet. I moaned because I couldn’t live where I wanted to live, until I met a man who hadn’t a place to lay his head down in peace until he was taken to a Cheshire home, where he lived contentedly till he died a few years ago. I fretted because I couldn’t get a better job in my younger days…so I left my kids mostly to themselves as I roamed around for a better opportunity in life…till my children grew up to adulthood without having their dad always near them because dad had crossed the ocean to look for a better job so he could come back home a rich man one day and finally spend some quality time with his kids and buy some quality stuff for them.
Oh, how inconsolable my remorse is, that I had sacrificed several years of my time with my family so I could climb several rungs higher in my profession. It was after my children had grown up and gone away from my nest that I realized my sacrifice was not worth it at all. The rungs on my ladder of success had only led me to a high chamber of heartbreak and regrets.
When all your accomplishments are done, all your dreams fulfilled, and all your energies finally spent, would you look back and remorse in great anguish that all those things which had seemed so important then for a happy life were but ephemeral desires which added nothing to the quality of your life or to your relationship with loved ones.
Or would you look back and rejoice that you had the prescience to know what was really important at all times…your time around your loved ones, your patience with those who exasperated you, your forgiveness for those who offended you, your unswerving commitment to every relationship that came your way – these are absolutely the only things that will stand you in good stead at the final count.
So when pain and sorrow come your way, there’s nothing really you can do to escape the suffering, but you can put them to great use as forceful reminders of your urgent need to focus your life on the remaining blessings in your life before they too pass from you.