For there would be no sunrise without dark nights, … , no restoration without brokenness.
– Reflections from the book ‘Overextended’ by Lisa Harper.
I’d like to warn you that this post is fairly long, I did not split this into 2 posts as that would lose the flow. So please persevere and read on to the end …
When things are going our way in life, promotions, financial wealth, good health, blossoming relationships, lovely new house/ car, and so on… it’s easy to be joyful, singing and dancing, looking to others and wondering why other people are acting like depressive maniacs, self- pity partiers, low morale mongers indulging in sour grapes.
What happens when events take a turn in life, if we’re stricken with disease, incur financial losses, get betrayed by those closest to us, faced with career setbacks? When the weather changes from a bright sunny day to a storm, can we still sing and dance in the storm? Especially when the world seems to be passing us by, friends are getting married or enjoying lovely marriages and kids, catapulting by leaps and bounds in their career or financial advances.
Under such circumstances, some people will spiral into depression, wallow in self-pity, become bitter, sour and even resentful of those who are seemingly in the celebration seasons of their lives. After all, emotions (both positive and negative) are so attuned to our human nature. I have to admit for once that I am a highly emotional girl. Even the stormy weather can make me feel gloomy. Being trained in psychology, I know far better about the colored lenses of depression and how behavior is affected by the cognition.. Nonetheless, that is easier said than done, as I’ve been down that road before (many times). No matter how I convince myself to steer away from the negativity, I can’t help it!
Yet, there are some people who can still stay steadfast, purposeful. Though, not all the time smiling, they choose to focus on the positive. Though they feel down at times, they choose not to indulge in a pity party, more than a slice of chocolate cake. What is the secret?
Life is unpredictable. The only thing constant is change, just like the four seasons. And much like the many parodies of life, the human heart is so intended for contrast that, without one, we would not comprehend (appreciate) the other. For there would be no rainbow without the storm, no child birth without pain. If we follow this reasoning, it is possible to grow seeds of joy in the soil of sorrow!
As the famous author C.S. Lewis so aptly put it – a heart that is so sheltered from the possibility of wreckage “will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
What’s wrong with an ‘irredeemable’ heart? To answer that question, rather let’s ponder on “What good is an irredeemable heart?” Can it spread forth unconditional love; is it capable of genuine magnanimity, let alone, even appreciate true love? See the picture? An irredeemable heart is a heart of stone, impervious, insensitive, and incapable of growth.
Hence, perhaps we need to suffer the agony of a broken heart before our heart can be restructured and restored into a more beautiful heart. Given that, I’ll gladly have my shabby heart wrecked and shattered. So it can be restructured into something more splendid than before.!
Periods of trials and tribulations in life serve to strengthen not only our minds but our hearts. Psychologically speaking, that could be the process of ‘Self Actualization’, thanks to Maslow’s theory. However, in layman’s term, I believe it’s a process whereby I am the clay and my potter is remolding me into a vessel for higher purpose.
Though the process is painful and uncertain, knowing the end result is reason enough to help me focus on staying hopeful. So besides having an attitude of joy, I’m journeying on with an attitude of gratitude, in anticipation of the beauty to come.
If this is what you’re going through right now, I welcome you on this trail. Though our paths may be different, I believe we’re getting onto something more magnificent in time to come. Never lose faith and Joy!
(This post is inspired by an excerpt from Lisa Harper.)