The great thing about life is that if you do all the right things in the right order, you are guaranteed an experience free of stress, trouble or discomfort. Bahahahahahahaha. Sorry, but I had to say it out loud so I could hear how ridiculous it sounds. I know it’s ridiculous and yet…
• I wrote some great books, how come they’re not published?
• My friend is an awesome person with so much love in her heart – how come she’s having such staggering blows in every area of her life?
• Why..why…WHY if the babies stay up three extra hours don’t they at LEAST sleep an extra half hour?
• How come I only can’t find my keys when I’m running late?
Whether pondering the profound or the absurd, it seems like questions like these all come down to a very limiting core belief….that there is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way to do life and that to experience discomfort or even downright horrific circumstances is avoidable. I won’t get in to how we come to acquire these beliefs; they are held by religious and secular folks alike regardless of childhood experiences. I think it’s a common human experience when we work really hard for something we don’t get to feel a huge sense of injustice. Good things should happen to good people and bad things to bad people.
I have been having my perception on this challenged in several different ways; most recently by Bill Myers’ most recent book (The Jesus Experience: Journey Deeper into the Heart of God) in which he describes hard circumstances as a personal training session. If we don’t go through them, we don’t grow. Not to say that there is anything inherently good about losing a loved one or a debilitating disease – Myers doesn’t argue there is, and I don’t believe so either. However, given that we are not born flawless in a flawless world, ‘stuff’ is going to happen and when it does, it can always be used to make us stronger or more compassionate.
I’ve thought about this with my writing. Yes, it’s discouraging to put effort into something and not see apparent fruit. On the other hand, I’m forced to confront some character issues through the process; I can be very lazy and not finish what I start (ahem, REWRITES, ahem) and I tend to seek validation in the opinions of others (I’m not a writer unless a publisher says I am). If I never had these issues that would be best, but since they are apparently here, then they’re certainly not going to go away without a fight, and I am convinced I would be a better all around person if there were a little less of the defects and a little more of the virtues.
So I guess instead of thinking that I followed the right formula I would have a perfect life free of difficulties and that if I do have difficulties it is an indication that I’ve screwed up (which is sometimes true, but not always) I will try to focus on what I’m supposed to learn through the difficulties. So instead of being irritated that my view of the forest is being obstructed by all these trees, maybe I can step back and see the whole picture!