Thursday, November 13, 2014

Choosing Our Attitudes

'Happiness and  healing' is a topic we hear a lot about in our society. But at the same time society is filled with  great suffering. The death of a loved one fills us all with bodily pain and mental suffering. A college philosophy professor writes in a column in the Peace Weekly about losing his parents 3 years ago,within 6 months of each other. The loss was deep and lasting and before he was able to accept the loss, a very close friend died. The death was not   expected which made the loss more difficult. 

According to Viktor Frankl in Logotherapy, humans are motivated by the  search for meaning. The columnist shows, according to Frankl, we find the meaning in three different ways: in what we do, and what we experience or by the attitude we have  toward the unavoidable suffering in life. There is no way we can prevent our own death or the death of another, but we can choose our attitude.

Before the death of his friend, a fellow professor, he  visited him with his wife and even at that time he was considerate of us and told us that because of his weakness he found it difficult to talk. That was a indication of the thoughtfulness he had for others. Right to the very end you would see this concern  which increased the sadness of those visiting. After his death one easily saw the high regard he was held by  all those that knew him: the students that came to the funeral rites with tears in their eyes.

There are  those that death could come as a penalty, but they live well and enjoy life and then you have  those like his friend that had so much talent and doing so much good, and death comes so suddenly.  If they lived longer they could have done so much good and showed more love to others. The columnist has  read all kinds of philosophy books, and not once has he come across a good answer to his query.

During the Mass of the Resurrection in praying for the professor he did find some consolation. On the 49th  day after death one of the students who received his doctorate with the mentoring of the professor visited the grave of the professor and offered up his doctoral dissertation. At the sight, the columnist experienced a warm feeling.                                           

With the death of the ones we love we bury with the  one deceased part of ourselves which is part of the reason for the sadness that overcomes us. However, a part of the one who has died also remains with us.

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