Know any cantankerous, bad-tempered, difficult, bitter people? Met anyone you may term a grouch, sour-puss or cross-patch who is not happy unless there is something to complain miserably about? Look at anyone who has lived past the age of sixty and you will find that their outlook on life is clearly marked on their face. Is their face set in a permanent scowl or do their eyes dance with light?
Now, I am sure that no one goes through life planning to end up an old curmudgeon,but rather, may become so due to choices made during their lifetime. I know there are those that sincerely believe that you have no choices in how your life turns out at the end; that if your life was meant to take on a stream of unfortunate occurrences then there is little you can do to change the forgone conclusion.
My point here is that despite how each and every one of us came into the world – completely innocent and pure, we were meant to exist for the purposes that we were created. We don’t have to know what those purposes are because not all of them will be revealed to us.
The conclusion then would be to make the right choice from the information that is available in the environment we grow in and with the people we associate with. Two infants presented with the same amount of clay with which to create anything they please will unlikely create the same thing and the same goes for two identically trained architects when building their own personal abodes.
I am not speaking here of the whole “nature vs. nurture” argument which has been hacked to death over the decades. I am simply speaking of the uniqueness and significance of every single person alive. Unique because each person is an original and has a choice in everything they do and therefore solely responsible for the results of their own actions. Significant because even when a tragedy occurs in a person’s life that makes no sense as far as one is able to reason with the limitations of our human thinking, the tragic event itself had a purpose. This purpose may never be known for a decade or a century, but could just as easily be revealed in the next 5 minutes.
One winter evening on a busy street in Manhattan, Helena James fell from her tenth floor balcony, landing on the concrete pavement below. She dislocated her jawbone, damaged her spine and broke her legs in twelve places upon impact. She was rushed to the nearby hospital and had to have half of her left leg, just below the knee, amputated. The balcony was found to be faulty in its construction and the property builder had to face some harsh questions.
So who is Helena? Did she deserve this? Some may thing that it would depend on who she was and what type life she lived. If she was a pregnant nurse with three young boys to raise and a husband away in the military, some may feel that such a thing happening to her was unjust and cruel and made no sense. However, if Helena turned out to be a diseased prostitute or a drunken child molester, some may feel she deserved her fall. Why do we judge? Perhaps we do so instinctively..…but that is a topic for a separate discussion.
Going forward, Helena is confined to a wheelchair. Let’s say she is the Helena that is described first who now has to find a way to care for her family while her husband is away fighting a long drawn-out war. She lost her baby and is told she cannot conceive any more. There goes her hope of having a little girl. A month after the accident she is told that her husband had been killed in the line of duty. He was a hero. She hadn’t even seen him since the accident and her sons are too young to comprehend the concept of never seeing their father again.
While staggering home with her mind on the plan she had conceived over the past few days, she kept seeing Helena’s face swimming before her. Back at her dishevelled apartment, even when she pulled out the gun from the back of the closet, she saw Helena’s face. Val had decided to splatter her blood over the bedroom wall, with the express hope that her stepfather would be the first to find her.
Now instead, Val dropped the gun and fell asleep with Helena’s face spinning in her head. Later that night, she awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. It was her bible-quoting friend Melanie, who kept bugging her about coming to hang out with her. Melanie revealed that ” something told her to just keep on ringing until the phone was answered….” They talked for a long while.
The complexities of life and the very frailty of our humanity can create confusion regarding choices. However, making those basic choices in life are simple. Having the right foundation enables us to move through our time on earth with the peace in knowing that being happy is a choice.
Therefore, one can instead end up a perpetually joyful octogenarian without so much as a backward glance in regret. No one on earth knows what it is like to be anyone else other than who they are. It is a choice. It’s that simple.
Originally written: 2006 | All Rights Reserved © A.V.Powers
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