Life is not as easy as most of us would like. We endure pain and suffering, both large and small. Listening recently to a television newscast, reacquainted me with the superlative language that characterizes the daily report. Words such as horrendous, catastrophic, horrific, unfathomable, and unbelievable are so heavily used that I briefly lost sight of the content of the report. Ordinary events don’t make news. “Newsworthy” infers superlative-worthy.
Our lives, and our challenges, are not superlative-worthy, and our pain and suffering is not extraordinary. Rather, for most of us, life is filled with small, almost insignificant, minor difficulties, annoying nuisances, and mundane inconveniences. These minor challenges do not take us violently by storm, but soak us over time like a steady drizzle on a cold, dark night.
Sitting in traffic, waiting in line, arriving just after the store closes, dropping a call, and being knocked off-line are a few of the many bumps on life’s road. Don’t be surprised by these almost never-ending inconveniences of everyday life.
In Spite of Difficulties
Most of us handle the challenges of life amazingly well, without rancor or fuss. These small interruptions are common to us all, are part of life, and are understood as such. Don’t consider yourself a martyr and unfairly treated when there are weeds in your garden, ants at your picnic, and the weather grows cold. These are ordinary trivialities of life. They are distressing, but not catastrophic. It is the wise person who, in spite of weeds, ants, and bitter cold, harvests the bounty of the garden, enjoys the picnic, and learns to ice skate in winter. It is the content person who has learned to tolerate frustration and endure life’s plentiful array of inconveniences.
Life is like the sport of hockey – you are going to get bumped. Don’t be shocked or upset if someone runs into you, is inconsiderate, or your move is perceived as a careless action. “Why not be offended and upset?” the uninformed person inquires. Because it’s hockey. Getting bumped is part of the game; just keep skating. Being jostled and bumped is part of what happens when you play, both in life and hockey. Tolerate the frustrations of life and just keep playing.
Being needlessly offended only hurts the team. As your own character develops, you’ll be increasingly able to overlook offenses, cover over sins, and keep no record of wrongs. Weeds, ants, cold weather, and the hundreds of other minor irritations do not ruin the quality of your life. Rather, they reveal the quality of your character.
Enjoying the Pleasures of Life
As you go through treatment and begin a life of recovery, consider how you respond to these small bumps that inevitably come your way. It’s easy to carelessly complain about food, lectures, medicine, counselors, and the treatment center. As you get healthier, you’ll be less likely to find and point out every flaw. Instead, hopefully you’ll identify the beauty of nature, the charm of your friends, the wonder of the universe, and appreciate the smile of a child. In the meantime, keep your stick on the ice and just keep skating.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride.