Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An Epiphany. To Be Happy.

I was going to start writing about my 2nd week of 60+ Miles, but I decided to forego that, and will attempt to write about something a bit more philosophical and perhaps (Oh My)even meaningful..

Tonight, I saw a cute and often silly movie, "Evan Almighty". I was raised a Roman- Catholic christian, but like many of you (Christian or not), I have questioned the people behind the robes, who preach of the good words on one end, while marring the sanctity of morality on the other. Of course, I hope the vast majority of clergy, in all religions, are by and largely made up of good people, and not as the media portrays them out to be. But that's not what this non-running blog tonight is going to be about.

This blog tonight is going to be about the one thing that seems to elude mankind more and more as each complicated day goes by. It is a simple word in the English language. And the word is "Happiness".

While I am most fortunate to have some great things happen to my life (which can always change-that's the skeptic in me I guess), like my girlfriend and my job, and of course my family, there are other things. Things I worry about. Things I feel hopeless about, and things for which society might even judge me as a "failure".

I am not financially rich. In fact I am financially poor compared to what "society" says I should be by now in life. I also may not have children who are going to be doctors either. I may not have that 5 foot 11 model with the blonde hair and the blue eyes. And I may not own a house after 42 years on this planet. Heck, I may never own my own home. But...Do I have the right to have to feel that I am a failure because of it? The answer is a resounding "No."

Life is not easy. For those who ARE rich, and for those who HAVE those beautiful houses in beautiful neighborhoods, it might be easy. My girlfriend, upset over an ongoing situation (not with me though-whew!), had asked God tonight "Why do the bad people always win?". Now I am not equating rich people with bad people, but all of us have at one point or another, questioned why it is that some achieve their goals and others don't, regardless of the effort, or of the person's moral fiber.
And regarding the "rich", I am sure that most of these fortunate people paid a dear price to achieve their goals. I know of many that did this through hard work and sacrifice, but in some cases, I am sure that some sacrificed the wrong things, like the sacrificing of other values that should have been far more important than the almighty buck. Like being close to your family.

When I think about it this way, I'm no longer jealous. In fact, I feel sad for people who have accomplished personal goals this way, for they have missed far greater rewards that they could have achieved simply by loving and spending time with the people that brought them here, built them up, or with the children that they themselves have brought into this world.

In tonight's silly movie for which I gave it a 5 (out of 10), "Evan", played by funny-man Steve Carroll, learns several lessons, and above that, an all too familiar lesson - that spending time with your family is better than anything any sums of money could possibly hope to offer. Of course, a job puts food on your table, for you, AND for your family. So the answer, really,is to balance the two just right, so that you don't neglect either too much.

My life on this multicolored ball of rocks and water is going to be short. Perhaps I'll live to be as old or even older than my 91 year old grandmother. Or perhaps not. I don't know about you, but there are times when I get real down on myself because of things that turn out poorly. And sometimes these poor results came from events that were beyond my control. You have all read the famous quote, and seen them on magnets stuck for years on your refridgerator, to even as bumper stickers on cars. The quote that says, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

Well, that is all good, but I had an epiphany tonight. One that goes even BEYOND that quote. Because, whereas that quote tries to rationalize how some unpleasant events are sometimes beyond your control, and therefore you should not be upset over it, the catchy offering also sounds like it's resigned to the fact that wrong things happen and that you are going to be upset. Like as if it has acknowledged that a problem did occur, and now the passage is trying to pacify you, or trying to prevent you from getting upset over it.

Well, my epiphany was, "What if everything that happens in life that is seemingly unpleasant, is not unpleasant after all? What if we hold the key to determine at the very moment of acknowledging that something had gone wrong...that it is actually more wrong to feel bad, then the wrongness of the event itself? What if the events happened not by accident, but is rather some form of predetermined destiny and or of divine intervention, as if it were a test? A test to see if we actually GET IT?

I know that I am really sounding like I am 1 McDonald's French Fry away from a Happy Meal, but please hear me out. Because in tonight's share of sad events, I came across something wonderful.

There have recently been some sad events in my life and in my girlfriend's life that for the sake of privacy, I wont completely share. But let's just say that we both have family, and we want our family (be it children, parents, siblings or just loved ones) to succeed. And like any good person would, we are willing and do whatever we feel we must, in order to give our family the right paths to the right opportunities to excel in life. But what if things don't exactly go as planned? What if for example, our family was meant to suffer (ie. like our children)?

Must we suffer along with them? Does our suffering help our children any? And if they knew we suffered, would that help them any?

I have concluded that suffering, for all that it may be an elemental human emotion, is not good, It should be hoisted and sent to the Staten Island landfill or carted to some garbage barge headed to North Carolina along with the other garbages in life (like anger, rage, greed, and other sinister dwarfs that I can't think of for the moment)

.... Well..DUH! Tell you something you didn't know, right??? OF COURSE SUFFERING IS BAD! But yet for as simple as it sounds, I bet anyone who reads this, has created their own private little hell at least once today, or at least three times in the past week.

Why must it be this way? If there is such an entity as "God", which I personally believe there is, why does he let us suffer? Does he want us to feel like we are failures when things in our lives don't go as planned? I think the answer is No. But perhaps we are still completely missing the point....

Perhaps all of the things that happen that are not good to us are not actually bad. Perhaps it is instead, just a challenge. A challenge to smile, when all looks gloomy, an opportunity to just feel happy, when all you want to think is that this situation sucks. Remember I how mentioned before about how sometimes we feel like others have it easier than us (that was when I said that my girlfriend questioned why it is that the 'bad' people always win). Well, let me ask you this? Did you ever feel good about anything that you ever did, that required little or no effort?


But now ask yourself this question...Do I feel even better about the things that I was able to achieve, that were tough to achieve, more than those that were easy? I bet you said Yes! For all we know, my friends, failure is not FAILURE. Perhaps failure is a WONDERFUL challenge to us. An opportunity to feel good about ourselves no matter what the outcome. And if you can achieve this, as tough as the situation you might be, is, then you should feel great about yourself for being able to triumph over the inherited adversity, especially in today's world. It should prove to yourself, that you can love yourself, just as much as you can love your neighbor, even if your current social structure and/or society in general, had dictated otherwise.

Want an example of a tough situation, where feeling happy is next to impossible? There are many. How about those of us who have had people they loved and have died? How about people we love that are aging poorly? Why must we feel so upset for them? If they love us, the last thing they want for us to be, is to be upset. If anything, they want you to be happy, right? Let's move on...

What about a love that never was allowed to grow because of "society's rules". Or a love that prematurely ended even. Even tougher perhaps are examples that come next. Read on...

What about an unforseen death? A tragic death in fact. Like murder or an accident at the wrong time (as if there was ever a right time). Right now, my words might not be of great console to those who have lost loved ones in any way, tragically or otherwise. Trying to tell someone to be "cheer up" when their loved one died in the World Trade Center, or whose 8-year old daughter succumbed to leukemia, or who sister just hopeed on an airplane to see her brother for the first time in 10 years, just to die in a needless plane crash, is virtually i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e. Even if they could understand the epiphany about how important it is to be ALWAYS be "happy", no matter what the circumstance, I would think that the dark clouds of sadness and despair they would have, would be, in one word, impenetrable. You can't deny sadness either, and I am not suggesting that it be completely eliminated from the equation either. Sadness is still an important part of any healing process. You can't just say you are happy all of the time, regardless of what happens! However, as unfair as they may feel for having tragic events happening to them and not to others, it is even more tragic, when the person who is hurting, cannot get over it either.

When a person fails to see that they are endlessly continuing to suffer, then that is the real tragedy. That person that they may be mourning, has died and we must presume that they are in peace. But what if they are not in peace? Perhaps they cannot be in peace, because perhaps in the after-life (which I do believe in) they see you from above, and watch you suffer. Always keep in mind that whether your loved ones are alive or deceased, it would always be their wish, their undying wish, in fact, to want you to be happy.

Perhaps the devil is not some red dude with pointy ears and a pitchfork, after all, that lives somewhere in a very, very, very, hot climate. No. Perhaps both God and the devil is instead on this planet. Or perhaps even within ourselves? If that's true, then giving into suffering is giving into the devil, wouldn't it. And if so, then allowing yourselves to be happy, no matter what the situation, is to allow yourself to breath in sunshine, and be open to God.

Accept all that is, and love all that is for what it is. No matter how fucked up all that it is, may be.

As you can see, I've been really exhausting the word "perhaps". Perhaps it's because if I don't say perhaps, then I may come off too righteous, like some kind of crazy born-again, something or the other, you know? LOL.

However, the time for me in saying perhaps is finally over. If you got anything of what I have been rambling about, fantastic. Try to apply it to everyday life. With all of the shit that one is exposed to, it shouldn't take very long before you come across one of these "moments", that permit YOU the control to decide how to emotionally act.

But if you are DENSE, and cannot understand anything that I wrote above. Then let me spell it out for you:

Life is Short! Do not waste it on the negative! Everything has an upside. Life itself is a gift. Be proud of who you are, and if you have parents and children, be even more proud of them and let them know! And remember....Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) can also go a long way too. Love everyone, and hate no one.

My sermon is over. Go in peace....Or in my case...Run In Peace. LOL.

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