When life is unfair
Sometimes you look at an individual and you can never tell the personal burdens they carry. As much as we would like to deny it, we all go through very dark times in our lives. There are periods where all you feel is sadness and defeat. You look at your life and you feel conflicted and confused; you have no idea what to do or how to feel, or even how to think. Perhaps a loved one has died, or you are in financial troubles, sometimes nothing discernible has happened to cause your deep sadness; you simply feel bad.
As a teenager, I often wondered why sadness existed. Why do we have to endure negative emotions? Why can’t we be happy all the time? I concluded that perhaps happiness is like sunshine and sadness is like rain. Imagine a world where it never rained. Rain cools the earth and it waters the plants; for most vegetation to grow you require sunshine and rain. Perhaps our emotions are like that; we need some sadness to appreciate happiness.
What about the monsoon? What do you do when there is no sunshine in sight and only heavy rain? You are simply drowning in sorrow. It is truly a terrible feeling when you are suffering on the inside and no one seems to notice. Your friends are looking right at you, yet they cannot see the pain behind your eyes.
Many of us were born into situations that have shaped our lives negatively. We did not ask to be born, nor did we contribute to our own misery, yet here we are. It might feel good to throw yourself a pity party, but it is unproductive. If you want your life to be better, you must make it better. You deserve better from life, but what can you do? You can complain about all the problems you have, or you can play the hand you were dealt. The only person who can help you, is you.
St Vincent is largely a Christian society and our number one remedy for hard times is prayer, but what is prayer without action? You can’t just pray for a better life and expect things to magically get better, you have to make it better. You have to wake up everyday determined to outdo yourself and achieve your goals.
Even if you’re not the one weathering the storm you can still make things better. When your friend tells you they are going through a very rough patch, don’t just say “I’ll pray for you”, tell them “I will support you”. Quite frankly this trend of giving “thoughts and prayers” has become so shallow and empty. Your friend needs tangible help, not just your thoughts. Unless you are a magician whose thoughts can become reality, your gesture is useless. It takes more energy to support someone than it does to give thoughts and prayers, but it is much more useful. One day each of us will need help, and in that moment we will all want more than “thoughts and prayers”. Be the friend you’d want for yourself.