As we get older, we learn to come to terms with the ups and downs of life. We expect that we will have both good and bad experiences, meet wonderful and horrible people, make right and wrong choices, and feel every emotion on the spectrum between elation and despair. We cannot ever predict what will happen or when, and learning to take each challenge as it comes while maintaining contentment is one of the most challenging lessons of life. There are times when we are faced with a problem, and deep in the throes of it we think, “When and how can this ever get better?” But eventually, without our truly recognizing it, things change for the better and the recently formidable problem has slowly been solved. It’s funny how we notice the gravity of our worries but not the absolute wonder of our happiness until it is threatened again. As my husband once pointed out, when you catch a cold, you are completely immersed in how miserable you feel, but when you recover from the cold and are healthy again, you become ignorant of your healthful state. You take it for granted. I think this is the same process when we deal with happiness and sadness.
Of late, there have been a few constant, nagging, and pretty major stressors in our lives that just haven’t seemed to approach resolution yet. One of them reminded us yet again of how utterly selfish and unempathetic people can be. As much as I believe in karma and dharma (not as religious principles, but rather as a driving force in our world), I often feel that we rarely see the effects of these principles in real time. So many people lead lives lacking in purpose, integrity, and kindness, yet they never seem to be affected or even aware of the damage they do. One thing I dislike about the concept of karma is that it does not necessarily occur in this life for us to witness. This is probably the most frustrating aspect of watching people suffering — that there is no guarantee that they will be rewarded in this life, and there is no guarantee that the people and circumsances which cause their suffering will change when it matters. It seems lately that no matter how much good we try to do and how much we dig deep to be the better person, it backfires. And the worst part is that we do not try do the right thing so that we can be rewarded. We try to do the right thing because — well — it’s the right thing.
Moreover, the more difficult things seem to get, the smaller the circle of people we can truly count on becomes, and for some reason they all seem to live miles and miles away! Here and there I have the pleasant surprise of a kind word from a close friend, and I always wish I could transport all of the people I love dearly to be in one place together. The physical proximity of supportive loved ones is irrepraceable.
We all have felt loneliness before, but this is a new kind of loneliness in which you are ignored, kept out of the loop, and forgotten at every turn. Even the definition of “family” is a loose one; some families are so lucky in that they can turn to each other immediately for help and support. At times it feel like it is just a handful of us turning to each other and hoping for a change that we have no real control over. These past few months have taught us alot — about who we spend our time with, about recognizing integrity, about strength and resolve, and about not giving up. We can only keep moving forward, because that is the only place to go, living our lives and waiting for good new.