We’re all dreamers, some of us more than others. Inspired by ancestors, explorers, pioneers and founders of nations, on whose shoulders we stand, we take hold of our own destinies — and shoot for the stars. It is, after all, up to us to make our dreams come true.
The nature of life itself is that we’re handed the keys to the car for an undetermined time. When the lease is up, we turn it back in. Is this fair? Is it OK? Is it reasonable?
Or is it just…life? And it’s our job to come to terms with the fact that it’s a package deal? We live. And we die (it’s not just a bad rumor!).
But when life takes a left turn, and it likely will at some point, we grapple to understand why. Have we failed? Are we stupid, inept or misguided? Is this karmic payback? Or is there some life lesson here for us to learn? Did we just not think positively enough?
Balancing life’s terms with our own means balancing fierce determination with humility. Being humble does not mean rolling over, being a victim, losing faith or relinquishing one’s passions. It means setting your sights on a goal, doing your best with the understanding that before its all said and done, life will probably have something to say about how things turn out.
In the small print of life it is written, “Life is suffering. Life is joy.”
The very same things that cause us suffering afford us joy. We can only experience separation after experiencing attachment (love in its highest form). We experience health only to have it decline in old age and sickness. We are given time and, sooner or later, it runs out.
We seem to have a love/hate relationship with life. We grow up, and if we’re fortunate to live a longer life, we get to experience physical decline and deterioration. Life lifts up and gives us cherished moments and then some terrible ones. We gain friends, lovers and families, and lose them. Everything changes. Life goes on.
Sometimes we hate life’s terms. Because they suck. We detest the way things unfold. Especially after an unexpected loss.
I will forever detest that my daughter did not live out her life. I will hate that I had to live out the rest of my life without her. But my life would not have been my life without Jenna. I love that I had her here for 21 years. I feel blessed to have had such a child. I am grateful that her 21 years were so full, and that she was happy. And I cherish the closeness I feel to both of my daughters each hour I am alive.
How could we not object to life’s tragedies? How could we not want to spit in the face of the Universe when bad things happen? In the face of horrific destruction, violence, injustice, suffering, how could we not detest it? We do and we must object. We must try to leave the world a better, safer place through our deeds. Objecting does not mean that we don’t also bless and accept life’s gifts. It’s possible to do both.
Focusing on Life’s Blessings
You will live on with a big hole in your heart and a forever yearning for those you have lost. You were privileged to have them for a time. Now they are gone. The privilege and the blessing is that you got to live something glorious, have a beautiful house, live somewhere in the world while you were in the service. Each one of these things made up our history. We don’t get to stop or control time. Ultimately, we’re asked to bless all the seasons of our lives.
Not that we have to like them, but we can grieve the loss of them. Blessing something doesn’t mean you endorse or like it – it happened and we find a way to make peace with that fact. You can always have your feelings about it, and you can look at it and say, “This IS what happened in my life. This IS my journey.”
It’s a declaration that, for better or worse, this is what happened. In a way, you’re embracing it from the standpoint of acceptance, not from the standpoint of endorsing it.
History will show that they left before you. Will your life, or any part of it, become an expression of your love for them? Will you hold your thought of them close, fearlessly loving them in each day? Will you embody the best of them, savor their legacy in good deeds, and keep your heart open to the mystery?
Copyright Ken Druck, Ph.D., author of The Real Rules of Life (Hay House, tradepaper 2013).