Life is a funny thing. In some ways it is so predictable, yet it can also be remarkably mysterious. Just when I think I have it figured out, it takes another unexpected turn. Since life is a journey, not a destination, I remind myself that the road will, at times, be rough. In the past few months I have seen a number of my loved ones and dear friends face some painful experiences. In fact, my husband recently commented, "there is so much suffering all around." It really had me thinking about the paradox of hardships and difficulties. One of the beautiful things about our human nature is that we can choose to find meaning and purpose in the most devastating of circumstances. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who lived in the 20th century, wrote poignantly on this subject. He lived through imprisonment and torture. He reflected on his experiences in his book Man's Search for Meaning. He recalls, "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others and giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man, but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
I am certain we all remember many accounts of the selfless acts of courage by those who endured the 9/11 tragedy. In the face of such evil was an unquenchable thirst for good to prevail! That attitude is at the core of all human triumph, whether it be in small or great ways. Seeing ourselves as capable of rising above circumstances lays the foundation for a life well lived. So as I travel the road of life I must do my best to take time to reflect on my decisions. In this way I will be able to fully choose my way and my attitude. The focus cannot be what happens, but rather how will I choose to respond to what happens! This is not the answer to living an easy life-there is no such thing-but it will ensure that I leave this world a little better than when I found it. Every situation in life has the potential to allow the greatness of the human spirit to shine forth. I have seen it first hand in the lives of my family and friends. Perhaps we can call to mind these words of Viktor Frankl, "when we are no longer able to change a situation-we are challenged to change ourselves."
5 years ago