Sickness, trauma, death, destruction, devastation. They happen. And that sucks. I just don’t think the right question to ask is “why me?” In some ways, these most personal tragedies aren’t really personal. They are part of the cycle of life. Devastating things can happen to anyone. Earthquakes can happen anywhere.
We are vulnerable. If we think we have control over our lives, we are really living in illusion. A friend recently stepped off a train and somehow ended up in the emergency room requiring brain surgery for the trauma he encountered when he fell. Just a fluke. Accidents happen. Life is fragile. All things we can easily say, but the truth is there are so many things we can not control. And if we can’t control our birth or our death, the rest is really kind of a joke anyway.
The only thing we do have some control over is the container we hold our lives in. What we weave around our experiences. I have control over my attitude, the way I choose to experience what is happening to me. I can perceive small problems as large; and large problems as spiritual teachings.
What I have learned recently is that if I approach my encounters with love in my heart, relationships with all people are smoother. Sometimes this is simple. I’m watching a driver budge into my lane, after I’ve been patiently and slowly moving toward the exit ramp. I can be pissed. Raise my blood pressure. Raise my animosity toward humanity. Or I can assume no malicious intent, and say to myself, that sometimes in life I get into the wrong lane and need someone to help me out too.
Sometimes it’s a lot harder. I want to see the opportunity that exists for me to learn even in the middle of sickness, trauma, death and loss. Even in the midst of difficulty, we often see the gifts of the compassion of others. We can see how we are all at the core connected in our human spirit. One.
Every closed door presents an opportunity to see life differently, expand the vista, try a new path. Of course sometimes, we’d still rather have had the option to vote “no” to the difficulty and “no” to the growth and instead we go kicking, screaming, or not at all, into a new perspective.
I happen to think that we are really living everyday to learn the bigger lessons in life. I think reality happens on different levels — what we’re doing in our lives and what that living means for the bigger journey we’re travelling on. And the only way it goes easily, is if we see ourselves as explorers, always moving forward. It’s when we try to maintain the status quo, try to maintain control and hold on too tightly that we close ourselves off to the real gifts of living.