Monday, June 25, 2018

Adversity Introduces Us to Ourselves.

Life is full of choices. We are born and die without a choice but in between, for the most part, one choice after another. What are we going to eat, wear, do, all depend on our choices? In a diocesan bulletin, the writer gives us some thoughts to reflect on hoping to make us wiser.

There are of course many areas of life that are not choices. Parents, name, nationality,  and genes are not our choice, artificially we have ways of changing some of these realities but most opt to accept what is given as our destiny. External good looks, healthy genes, family wealth may not be what we preferred but accepted and at times try to change.

She mentions a well-known case,  the Japanese entrepreneur, the founder of National Panasonic, who was born with a sickly body, lived in childhood poverty and only had a 4th-grade elementary school education. He lived a satisfying life and before he died left humanity with some wise words.

"The heavens have looked down favorably on me and have given me 3 big gifts. I was born with a weak body, poor and uneducated.  Since I had a sickly body I took care of my health and lived to 94, being poor I was careful with money, worked hard and became a wealthy man, I was uneducated everybody I met became a teacher and I learned much. I give the heavens thanks for the gifts I received."

It's our attitude in life that makes all the difference. One person sees a half-empty cup and is disappointed and another sees the half-full portion and is thankful. 

In Korea, you hear a lot about the five blessings:  longevity, wealth, health and peace, love of virtue and peaceful death. This is not the lot of the majority of humanity. Life often is not fair but neither is it all bad. We have the good and the bad. We accept the parts of life we can't change and make the best of the situation we are in.

Looking over life there are choices made for which we regret, but also many things we look back with satisfaction. In life, we have times in which we were unfairly treated and our insides were turned upside down, felt lonely and burdened. The religion we choose out of the many that were available has for the writer been a great consolation. She has always felt that God was on her side.

Her husband was brought up in a home where superstition was the belief of choice. Although it came late in life the choice was the most excellent of all his choices. Sadly many have been brought up in a Catholic home but for various reasons never found value in what they received and have quietly walked  away from a great treasure.