By Sicebise Msengana
Some experiences and some events in life simply suck! Suffering is not fun at all. Broken dreams, failed relationships, health problems, job losses...things that make it hard for us to get up in the morning. Would you smile if you lost all your children and not be bothered? If you lost all of your property would you keep smiling? Is it easy to go through terrible pain and be positive? How can it be easy to lose someone you love to a chronic illness or get dumped by someone who meant the world to you and still be calm?
Life is like a fog, right? At times everything doesn't make sense. From one crisis to another, you slowly get the feeling that you're like a pin ball machine. Facing pain and suffering is not easy for even the greatest human beings. It was no laughing matter when Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison. Anyone can crack under pressure. With this in mind, we are mere mortal beings. And we go through pain one way or the other. We cannot imagine the inner turmoil felt by someone who lost a loved one, a co-worker, a best friend. Be it emotional, spiritual, physical pain--the question why bad
things happen to people is too difficult to answer.
Life is unfair. What makes this situation even more complicated is that some people who come short on human decency and ethical standards enjoy the finer things in life. They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so strong and healthy. They are not troubled like other normal people. These fats have everything their hearts could wish for! Indeed, life like a fog.
Why do bad things happen to people? The real question is why do bad things happen to people? This is the oldest dilemma in human history. This doesn't need an introduction or complex explanation. The answer is simply this: We live in an imperfect world that is inhabited by imperfect creatures. In an imperfect environment why should we expect perfection? Why should we grieve up to a point where it threatens our existence and that of others? Let us find hope in the midst of our problems.
False expectations. The first mistake we make is to have false expectations; the unrealistic ideal that we will live a trouble-free life because we are "good'' people, upright citizens who pay their taxes, donate to charities and other shows of religious acts. Mankind's eternal optimism is a strange phenomenon. But the sad truth is that life is a struggle, a battle is being fought. Even Winston Churchill understood this principle when he said, ''All I can give you is blood, tears and sweat.''
Suffering is inevitable. It is almost impossible to watch the news nowadays without hearing of some catastrophic event or disaster. Hurricanes, earthquakes, kidnappings, murders, outbreaks of diseases, famine,wars...the list goes on and on. It's enough to make you turn off the TV and never wish to watch news again. But we can take pride in knowing that everything happens for a reason. We might not know the underlying reason behind it, but how we choose to respond to it does go a long way. As Woody Allen said, ''Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering- and its all over much too soon.''
No comprehension of the bigger picture. Maybe you have received sad news from the doctor informing you have cancer or a life threatening disease. Or received news that your loved one is no more or you got dumped by someone you loved. Our existence here on earth and the understanding of the real meaning our lives, is very limited. It is more like a fog, everything gets lost in a thick fog. We see nothing until light shines. We cannot see the bigger picture. At times we experience good times and dark times. But we can never step back to see the bigger picture. To step back means to be no more.
Retrospect is important. While you are confronting a crisis or a dark avenue in your life, you will not be able to understand. But once the anguish has passed, in retrospect it might be possible to make sense of what has happened. We can all name the terrible events in our lives that were so annoying when we experienced them, but when seen from a late perspective turned into good. A man who missed a bus to work and panics. He knows he is going to be late for an important meeting. Gets angry and curse life. An hour later, he finds out that the bus had been involved in a horrific accident which claimed all the lives of the passengers. In retrospect a bad thing could be a blessing. Sometimes it can take you months or even years to see.
Good or bad. I have heard of people who were once homeless, nobody's of this world, outcasts, who thought about suicide. But because of the will to live they turned their lives around. Don't get suck up into your little pocket of reality. Helen Keller once said, ''Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can be the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.''
The end of the story. It may be easy to say, ''My husband lost his job. But he will get another one which is far better than this one.'' But when we watch a person extremely suffering and every breath they take is painful, it is not easy to say, ''This, too, is for the greater good.'' Maybe you have seen your loved one slowly dying from a dreaded disease or whatever may be the cause and asked yourself, ''Where is the good in this?'' or ''Don't tell me to be positive or wait for the end of the story. I have seen the end. He died'' or ''She dumped me for him after everything I have done for her.'' Death is not a problem to the person involved but a solution to the problem. It is the beginning of all the answers. The great description of beyond understanding. Don't give up on love. It might be a blessing in disguise. There are so many people out there who need to be loved, go spread your wings and you will meet them. ''Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.''- Brennan Manning
We are human. We can hear of some of the most wonderful messages and uplifting ideas about what pain means and how to grow from it, but pain will still be pain, and we often get overwhelming by it. It's best to remain strong, confident, and positive in the face challenge. Pain is not always bad if we are to see the good in everything that happens. Until then, let's fill our hearts with hope, faith, a positive attitude and a courage to wake each morning to face another day. Let's do it for our children, our families, ourselves and most importantly for God. He is the beginning and the end of it.