Thursday, January 28, 2010
The Way in Which
The blame game is easy. The blame game is natural. It's never my fault. How could it be? It's so nice to never be the one responsible when something goes wrong. And, especially when I am personally offended, maybe even severely suffering, it's great to know that I certainly did nothing wrong.
I don't claim to have faced the worst of trials. I haven't had a lot of really terrible things happen "to me" in my life. But, we all know that each day brings us frustrations and hurts and annoyances in hugely varied forms.
So, my point is not what happens to us. My point is that "the way in which" we respond to these things is what we can control. I'll let a man speak on this matter who, in fact, has had immense pain and oppression thrust upon him through his experiences in Nazi concentration camps.
Viktor Frankl, author of A Man's Search for Meaning, said:
The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity - even under the most difficult circumstances - to add a deeper meaning to his life...Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not...His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.
This lesson struck me painfully close to home as I read about this man's response to his circumstances. I stop. I look around me. This is where I am. This is what I have. This is what I'm doing right now. Whatever it is. Good or bad. Difficult or relaxing. Frustrating or smooth sailing.
How will I respond to what's in front of me...right now?
I think Frankl would support a mantra that I have been reminded of a lot recently: Do hard things. And not just to do them. But I'm guessing, if you push through, in reliance upon a God who is way bigger than the biggest of difficult circumstances, you'll be better off in "the long run".