” What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are Your mercies in disguise? ”
Through social media I have made many connections and many friends. Many of them quite a bit younger in their twenties and thirties and I find that this, together with watching my son struggle through his teenage years gives me more perspective and possibly less forget-ery about how rough it is to grow up in this world. I also feel that it is becoming more difficult rather than easier. The world wide web allows us to see other people in their struggles and triumphs and we can see lives that could be ours if only we could break away from where we were. The fact that many of the people living these lives also wish that they could break away is quite besides the point.
Lately tho it seems that every week or two, one or another of my Facebook acquaintances talks about life being too rough. They talk quite a bit about ending their lives and one or two even attempt to do so. Luckily, very few of the people I’ve known who talk about ending it on social media are successful at doing so. Friends find them and get them help or they talk themselves out of it. Perhaps once or twice I have had a hand in talking them out of it myself. Funny given my views on the subject.
You see I feel that we all have the right to end our lives any time we wish. No one else can know first hand the struggles that another goes through or what their capacity may be. I feel that most times it is a somewhat selfish act as in almost all cases, loved ones are left behind who have to deal with it. Yet some pain goes beyond that. I also believe in reincarnation and as I have told a few people, “No matter how rough this life feels now, how do you know that the next time around won’t be even rougher.
Even tho that to me is a powerful argument, there is one that has always clinched it. I am too curious to see what is going to happen next both to myself and to the external (sic) world. My life has been far from normal with some truly bizarre twists. I know that things can change in a moment. There are so many things going on in this world and the balance is so precarious that I am at the edge of my seat wondering what is next to come. These are the things that keep me going through the rough times. Well, that and I have others who emotionally depend on me and to leave them would be both irresponsible and reprehensible. Plus I have realized that happiness is quite often a choice as is misery and that in the worst of times a golden moment can come.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
― Brené Brown
Who do I want to be in this world? How can my actions reflect my true inner self? Only I can control this. If I pass the reign to others, then I surrender myself. If I act or refrain from acting because I am worried about the response than I become something lesser. Authenticity is addictive. The more we act as ourselves, the easier it becomes to do so. The more we compromise ourselves, the easier that becomes as well and it is a slippery slope that leads to all forms of distress both physically and emotionally.
“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin
Fear is healthy and at times it is necessary. We are often taught tho that it is something to be overcome. A few nights ago I posted my feelings about some of the reactions that I had then read about last week’s shootings in Paris. I felt that people were being way too critical about how others were reacting to the shootings. Tonight a friend of mine replied that she agreed but she also had a problem with people ‘fear-shaming’. She felt that there were those who weren’t being compassionate towards others who may be concerned about letting possibly dangerous refugees into their countries and communities. She was clear that she was neither a ‘truth’ who believed that the incidents didn’t happen (my feelings about that may be food for another posting one day soon) nor was she a new-ager who believed that people should never show fear.
I agree with her to an extent. People need to be able to feel whatever they feel without others telling them they are wrong. Fear is an honest response to terror. It is the response that ‘terrorists’ wish to evoke. However it would be a sad thing for fear to stop us from obeying the dictates of our hearts and our wills. Fear cannot stop us from helping those in need and doing what we can to help others. We cannot let fear make us lesser than we can be. If we let that happen than no matter what else happens, the terrorists will have achieved their goal. This is when bravery and facing our fear has to take precedent. We need to decide who we want to be, both as individuals and as a nation.