In the random thoughts on religious life column, a university professor recalls a visit to a book store where a green cover of a book caught his eye. He fingered through the book, memoirs of the family members of those who committed suicide. The book was published by a center in the prevention of suicides.
It easily brought tears to those who would read the book Each day almost 40 dies from suicide in South Korea.
Each of those who died was hurting. It's important to see the way we encounter the adversities that come in life. Often in the book, there are pictures taken from books of psychology. One picture is a composite picture of a witch's face and the face of a beautiful young woman. Depending on the viewer one can see an old witch's face or that of a young woman or both.
The example is also given of a half filled bottle of wine, One person sees the empty section and laments while another person sees the wine and rejoices: same reality with different responses. Our values determine our viewpoint and our future.
Ku Sang was a well known Korean poet who was known for his Christian sensitivity. (His parents were Catholic, an older brother a priest. He studied in Japan was raised in North Korea and the Communist regime had little sympathy for his poetry so he fled to the South. He suffered from tuberculosis and died in 2005)
The professor includes a section of one of his poems the Flower Bed. "Delighted, thankful, joyful/ I am in a flower bed/ you are seen as a place of thorns/ However I see you as a flower bed." ( a literal translation) Depending on our attitude we can see our situation as a bed of thorns or one of flowers.
He recommends to the readers to take the few lines and keep them in their pocket note book and glance at it often. We can turn negativity into something positive. As in the poem about the Chinese date. The date doesn't turn red on its own but needs the encounter with typhoons, thunder, and lighting and we have the reddening of the fruit.
St. Paul says the same in Rm. 5: 3-4 "These suffering bring patience, as we know, and patience brings perseverance, perseverance brings hope, and this hope is not deceptive because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us."