Accepting The Present

Everything happens for a reason, so the saying goes. A very common statement, I’m sure you’ll agree. And a very interesting statement, if you ask me. Often enough, it is said in the midst of pain or difficulty, as a way to comfort the inflicted. Rarely do you hear it mentioned when something positive happens. There’s seldom a need to explain the good times. And it’s always easier to look for an answer outside of yourself when things aren’t going as expected.

The question I’ve had to ask myself, for a while now, is can I accept this fact? Does everything really happen for a reason?

I bet you can guess why…

I’ve been at this thing called life for at least a little while now. My life, it’s not flashy, glamorous, or powerful. It’s certainly not rich. It often feels like there’s never enough, of anything. That’s a tricky one, when we’re a single income family trying to raise 3 kids in a country that is not cheap. Scratch that, it’s actually very expensive!

The question remains, can I accept that who I am now, is for a specific purpose? Can I accept that I am at the right place, at the right time, even though it may not feel like it is right?

Can I appreciate the blessings and graces that are with me right now?

It would be proud, and wrong, for me to answer yes to the above. I am certain that I am not as content as I should be. The reality is that there is this constant tension. Between being content, and wishing for more. If I were to be honest with myself right now, I’m probably leaning towards ‘wishing for more’, if only to be able to provide a better life for my family. To not always have to worry about expenses and wondering if it will balance out financially.

And yet…

“Sacrifice… You made one, I made one. We all make them. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost. You didn’t get it. Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices.”
Mitch Albom — The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The concept of sacrifice should not be something new to me. My faith recounts the greatest sacrifice ever made. A life, sacrificed by a willing victim, for a group that quite likely didn’t even notice it. A sacrifice made purely out of love. It wasn’t a loss, it was a massive victory.

It’s a bold statement though, to aspire to sacrifice. It’s made me consider if I am happy with the sacrifices I have made. Or if I have allowed the my sacrifices to make me bitter, or regretful. What I do know is that regardless, I will continue to sacrifice. I don’t think it’s really an option. What I aspire to do is to sacrifice with the right intent. That’s how I’ll find the strength to keep doing it.

I don’t think I’ve answered my own question. Cue internal monologue…

Where do I stand on accepting the present? I know what I should be thinking, what I should be feeling. Then why is it so difficult to do it?

My conclusion is that I can’t help but compare. Compare with colleagues, friends, neighbours, relatives, strangers. Compare with what I believe they have, know, feel, think.

Alright, so what’s my message to myself?

That it’s OK. It’s quite alright to be uncertain, to doubt. It’s alright to want more. It’s alright to think that there is something better to strive for. It’s this wanting that will allow me to be the best me. It offers me opportunities to learn, that I might have otherwise ignored. It's important that I do not allow myself to wallow in this doubt. It's important that I use this doubt to propel me forward.

That it's worth the sacrifice, regardless of whether I see the fruits. What matters is that those that I care most dearly for, are in some way benefiting from those sacrifices. I’m sure I am getting something out of it as well. I just need to be able to sit in silence long enough to acknowledge it. To see the connectedness of all our lives; that a sacrifice spreads its wings and touches those I may not even know.

That it is imperative that I stop comparing. It’s important that my desires should be focused on achieving the right outcomes for myself and those that I love dearly. There is no set path, I’ll have to work it out for myself, or forge it if none are clear.

Will this all happen right away? I’m pretty sure it won’t. And that’s alright too.

Not everything is immediately obvious. Sometimes it never becomes obvious. I need to learn to be comfortable with not knowing everything. Does everything happen for a reason? I’m sure it does. Do I need to know the reason? No.

And in the midst of it all, to continue to hope, and love. And smile.

Sunflowers last but for a while. Best enjoy them while they bloom.