You can't read, listen, or watch the news without feeling that the world is going to end. And not end in 1000 years but end sometime this year. The slaughter from school shootings, the inhumane events in Syria, and human trafficking all around the world are all evidence that the world is in need of some serious healing. As these painful images penetrate the recess of our mind, one can't help but think; Why must we go through bad times? And how do I remain happy in the mist of tragedy?
There are countless stories of individuals who have suffered unspeakable things. But what is just as true as the presence of human calamity is human's ability to survive. And just like Alexander Pope's verse in the poem An Essay on A Man, "hope springs eternal". Almost immediately when there is human suffering, there are miraculous moments of kindness, compassion, empathy, and resilience. The beauty of the human spirit is that it is so strong it can overcome anything. And yes I do mean anything. There is someone who has survived even the worst of what your mind can imagine.
There are many surface reasons for why people do the evil things that they do. All of it coming from some level of pain, hurt, and fear. But what is most important to understand is that everything in life is temporary. The one constant in the world is change. After the darkness comes light, after you are hurt, you heal, and after it rains, it stops. Nothing lasts forever. Understanding this helps you hold onto the hope that is so natural to who you are. The hope that makes you human.
When I was homeless, broke, and destitute in LA, I would call my dad back at home. I would cry to him and tell him what was happening in my life. And explain to him how I ended up in certain situations. In a soothing clear voice he would tell me "this too shall pass." At first I would hate when he said this to me. Not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or the greater lesson in what I was going through. I would scream at God or really anything that could hear me, WHY ME??? But the reality is my father was right. Every bad thing I went through passed. It may have taken work, hard work, or a helping hand to see me out, but my life always changed. This is not to make light of any situation. Sometimes it feels as if there is no end in sight, but that is not true at all. It takes patience to weather a storm. Actually it takes more than patience, it takes perseverance.
The truth of life is we loose sometimes. But the greater truth is that no lose ever defines us. People who go through awful events come out stronger than those who have never faced adversity. And it is those people who have faced adversity, who are often the leaders of humanity. Bringing us to another level of existence.
I wish I had some profound spiritual explanation as to why babies die or a good person is diagnosed with cancer but I do not. All I know is that you can surrender to the pain of the devastating event or you can rise through the pain and find the greater meaning. You can see the tragedy as a call to arms. Meaning you have been chosen to guide others through. To give them hope that they too will survive. And to let them know they are not the first or the last to go through that experience.