I have spent much of my life stuck between cynicism and anger. At some point I simply said enough and have set about reordering my life. We have only a short time on this earth and we can choose to spend it in despair or we can enjoy it. The choice is our own. I thank God that something finally changed in me which will allow for more enjoyment and less despair. Negativity is unhealthy and does not benefit us one bit. Why hold onto that which only hurts us?
Priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once wisely said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Think about that for a moment. Is it not true? Found amongst the most simple of ideas lies the greatest profundity. This is our one and only chance to have a human experience. Why waste it? God has given us so much to appreciate and the ability to appreciate it. He who ignores this gift is missing out.
Let your life be a celebration of this precious gift. Show gratitude to your creator through being merry. Share the blessings of this life with all through charity. Do not have grudges; forgive all who wrong you for your own sake. Remember what Emperor Marcus Aurelius said,
“Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busybody, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me; not [only] of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in [the same] intelligence and [the same] portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him. For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another, then, is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.” – ‘Meditations’, Book II, Section 1.
No one can hurt you but yourself. All hurt is derived from within, not the words or actions of another. Epictetus said, “If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone.” Therefore, why do we seek to hurt ourselves? Why makes ourselves unhappy? It is within our independent will to decide how we feel and what we think. In poverty there can be happiness and in wealth there can be despair.
We must learn to push aside all that seeks to darken our lives. At the same time, we must build up that which adds value to life. Is it love, children, marriage, travel, education, faith, or self-discipline which you seek? Then pursue it. Do not be afraid to take stops on your journey for sightseeing either. Learn to rejoice in God’s gifts. And do H. L. Mencken’s ghost a favor, “If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.”
Next Post: Rosarium