Or have someone else do it.
(It’s easy. You’re frail, you know.)
Throw yourself into the ocean.
(Don’t be afraid.
It’s like baptism.)
(with a bite)
Seasons scour, gales rend
And in the end
You are precious.
How to Make Sea Glass, by the gifted Carla, Carla’s Corner.
“At least 99.9% of everything good in my life has come to me through the door of pain.” — Dr. Andrea Dinardo, Thriving Under Pressure.
(About a 3 minute read)
It’s curious to me how much truth there is to the notion exquisitely expressed in Carla’s poem that we can come to be better people through adversity and suffering.
It is equally curious to me how much truth there is to the notion insightfully expressed by Andrea that most — or perhaps almost all — of the good things in our lives are in one way or another born of our pain and suffering.
I think both ideas might seem at first to be counter-intuitive. Does not pain and suffering focus us on ourselves, make us self-centered — perhaps even bitter and cynical? If so, how can it turn us into jewels?
Again, how can good things come of bad things? How can blessings enter our lives through the door of pain and suffering?
I think we must grant that not all pain and suffering produces good results — turns us into jewels or brings good things into our lives. That much, I think we must grant.
Yet is it not also true that we so seldom appreciate, we so seldom are made happy by the things that are simply handed to us? The things that are simply gifts? Oxygen is the among the most precious things in anyone’s life. Without it we’re dead. But when was the last time you celebrated oxygen? When was the last time your felt gratitude for it?
Only if you’ve ever come close to suffocating are you likely to recall a time you were grateful for oxygen.
Quite unfortunately, you are almost certain sometime between the ages of 15 and 30 to give your heart to someone who thinks he or she has earned it, who thinks he or she deserves it — or worse, who is indifferent to your gift. After that, you will appreciate Oscar Wilde’s advice, “Never love anyone who thinks you are ordinary”.
But how many people do you think will really act on Wilde’s advice before they suffer for having not heeded it? I have seen more than merely most people I have known to at one time or another — for a few months or a few years — give their hearts to someone indifferent to them as persons, someone who thought them “ordinary”.
Take now two people. Put them both through the same trial, the same troubles. One will come out sea glass, will come out blessed.
The other will come out bitter, cynical, foolish.
What makes for the difference between the two?
I often think it’s love. The one who loves survives the trial in ways the other does not. Love is a lens that puts things in perspective, that affirms life when we might otherwise turn bitter and cynical against it. Love is a lens through which we see opportunities for happiness that few who are bitter and cynical can ever see, let alone take advantage of.
Love is a lens that bestows upon us blessings. Love is a blessing that bestows upon us further blessings. Love is the essence of wisdom. You can survive almost anything if you love.
At least, that’s how I myself see it.