Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Maybe

Change is inevitable. Every so often, you'll feel the shift of the universe, whether it pans out good or not. Either way, it's meant to be all for the good. Some people feel they've been dealt a bad hand, when in fact, it probably saved them a massive amount of heartache in the long run. Who knows, right? But I refuse to remain a victim of circumstances. I'm tired of people whining about how their life didn't turn out the way they expected it to. Whose life did? I mean, if you really ask someone what they used to dream of as a kid -- what they wanted to be when they grew up -- most likely, you will get a completely different scenario than the life they are living today. And that's OK. I think subconsciously, since most of our dreams took a strange twist of fate, we either feel resentful or very lucky, depending.

As I sit outside working today, I'm watching the beautiful leaves of summer fall off from the trees, too weak to hold on any longer. It's not that they're weak per se, they just surrendered to what's meant to be. No resistance. Beautiful colors paint the landscape, orange, yellow, red, brown -- God's canvas. Today is probably one of the last 80 degree days we'll have before we see the beautiful white snow start to fall, and feel the bitter cold kick in once again. I'm grateful to even be outside right now. Change comes with circumstances. Fall turns into cold, eventually turning into snow, as well as flowers blooming come springtime....followed by warm summer nights and hot summer days. Everything changes, whether you view it as bad or good. That's up to you.

But what if it didn't make any difference on how the world around us changes? Here's a little story I like to use by John Suler. It's a zen story to make people realize that God is in control, if we give up the reigns.

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "Maybe," the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "Maybe," replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "Maybe," answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "Maybe," said the farmer.

Many people regret their past, or they have resentment still in their heart from a past relationship or event. The situation was unfortunate, right? Or would it be, "maybe"? So everything that comes my way that is either good or bad, I answer it with a "maybe". And if I hadn't experienced all the past heartbreaks or unfortunate circumstances, I wouldn't have learned anything, nor have strengthened my ability to handle a next round of unfortunate situations. I believe God gives us strength and endurance -- to share in His suffering -- to stand up to the test so that we can overcome anything. But many people ask why would God let so many people suffer, whether emotionally or physically? Isn't that bad?

Maybe.

Nobody knows anything. There's an old saying by Haruki Murakami, that says, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." Try telling that to someone who witnessed her father screaming in pain in hospice before he left this world. He begged me to hold his hand while waiting for his morphine. We never held hands before...it was that kind of pain. Try telling that to my mother who lost her husband and had to go through rounds and rounds of painful chemo and radiation herself right after his death. So when it says, "suffering is optional" -- I kind of wonder what that truly means. We all suffer, but I think what this quote truly means, is to take our suffering and use it for our strength; use it for our endurance of great testing, and many more to come. Life is but a fleeting moment in God's eyes, and to us, it's all of eternity, so it seems.

And if life is "so short", whey do we choose to stay with people who don't uplift or give us the love we truly need and crave? Why do some people choose to stay with abusive spouses, or live a life full of unhappiness? Why can't we all change to the situations and circumstances that we "want"? Or is it more of what we "need" to get by in this world? And there are many reasons for the "need" part, beyond just companionship unfortunately, whether emotional, physical, financial, or other. We have reasons why we have either stayed with someone that wasn't good for us, or we are still in relationships with people who aren't nurturing our souls.

And that's so important.

If you're with someone who is nurturing, loving, compassionate and understanding -- to me, you are wealthy. If you can say that your spouse is your best friend in the whole world, you have it all. I think all of us throw the term "happiness" around like an old dirty volleyball. It's much more than that.

"Are you happy?"

"Yeah, sure, why do you ask?"

I actually felt the sting of modern times recently, when I realized both my wife and I were in bed, both glued to our smartphones with the TV blaring in the background. Two hours had passed without a single word exchanged. We could have talked about our day or anything at all, but we found ourselves caught up in our own interests. She was tuned into her political websites and I was sifting around my Twitter feed, hoping to find some insight, somewhere. I thought to myself, "Wow, I never thought I'd see the day." And I'm not pointing fingers at her, because I kept scrolling through my phone myself, between Twitter and texting some friends. It was like a zombified moment of insanity. This wasn't limited to just one incident either. And I know many other couples who do the same.

You know what I'd rather be doing if we both can't sleep? Sipping hot chocolate with her by a fire before we go to bed, talking about everything and anything. I wanna sit outside and watch the stars out on our deck, even if we don't say anything at all. I want cuddle while watching a funny movie before we go to sleep. Sometimes we're up for hours. Why waste it on our phones? It's truly unrealistic in today's world.

Maybe.

So it is my decision to accept everything that crosses my path, and "maybe" it'll be good, and "maybe" it'll be bad. But overall, this is what life is: a random plethora of events that lead you one way or the other. You can't predict which way is better when you're presented with a fork in the road. There is no right or wrong, there's just fate. Many ask, "What could I have done differently?" Nothing. Nothing at all. Accept what is, and do your best at this present moment, which is all we ever have. Forgive your past, stop overthinking the future and make friends with the present moment. It's funny, because sometimes we totally know what we want, but God knows that those hopeful plans of ours aren't in our best interest sometimes. Some things shouldn't be, even if it feels amazing.

"Maybe."

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!