"life lessons", changes, existence, Japan, observations, people, resilience, respect
Life … In my last post, I related a dream, a nightmare I had. It is fairly obvious that I went to bed feeling rather overwhelmed with the “issues of life.” I need not furnish details, as I’m certain every adult experiences some of the same from time to time. What I have noticed, however, is the reluctance for most of us to admit our frailty. Instead, we “buckle down,” we “persevere,” and we “put our nose to the grindstone.”
I’m not sure that is the best course of action at these times.
The natural world has its Seasons: four of them! There is a time of new beginnings – SPRING. There is the passion (heat) of life – SUMMER. There is the beauty of truth and reality – AUTUMN. Lastly, there is death – WINTER. Is Summer better than Winter? No, just different!
There is great wisdom in Seasons. First, without the natural progression, the natural changes of life, things would become pretty boring. But beyond that, the very definition of life is change. If there is no change, no growth, there is no life.
Most of us learn at an early age that change is not desirable. We’re out playing on a sweet, spring evening when our parent calls us in to bathe. We resist the proposed change, because we’re having fun. We learn our family must pick up and move from Albuquerque to Pittsburgh. We resist because we’re comfortable in Albuquerque. We resist change because we’re comfortable where we are, and we’re not certain where we’re going. Some of us resist more than others. Most likely, we all resist in our own way.
“Resistance is futile!” a strange, green alien proclaims to confused and fearful earthlings. Exactly! Change comes whether we like it or not. Today is different than yesterday. Tomorrow will be different again (or still?) There are changes that need to be fought … illnesses, abusive situations, involuntary limitations of freedom, just to name a few. There are changes that need to be embraced, aging, for example. I’m not telling everyone to go out and buy their rocker just yet, but there are things that I could do when I was 25 that, let’s say, are not gracefully done now.
I went into the US Army upon graduation from college in Massachusetts. My first assignment was in Maryland. I thoroughly enjoyed it! But then I got orders to Alaska. ALASKA? I fought those orders for months. All I knew of Alaska was igloos and Eskimos, and I wanted no part of it. I had generals call the Pentagon on my behalf. I wrote letters. I did everything I could think of, everything suggested by those over and around me to change those orders. All options failed. While packing my belongings the thought occurred to me, “Why choose to be miserable? I cannot get out of going, so I might as well decide to enjoy it.” I did! Alaska is one of the highlighted chapters in my life’s novel for both content and setting.
Change is uncertain, and therefore, fearful. If we can move forward with some basic understandings, change can be easier to live with. It is important to understand that life is a progression. Nature doesn’t jump from Spring back to Winter. It always moves into Summer. There is generally an order to life. Do what can be done to fight, to resist, then make the required changes and embrace the new place of life.
The writing of this draft began in the wake of unbelievable devastation in Japan. No human could have foreseen the extent of damage from the series of natural disasters there. A record earthquake, followed by a quick hitting tsunami strong enough to disrupt and corrupt the nation’s nuclear facilities was not in the scope of expectation. Thousands of people are lost, and yet in the midst of the rubble and catastrophe, a beautiful life lesson has emerged. The people of Japan, the Survivors, continue to demonstrate the root framework of their culture – Respect. Instead of the animalistic behavior seen in previous crises around the world, the people of Japan are not looting, not pushing through lines to get supplies, and not taking from one another. Rather they have corporately chosen to respect one another and value one another’s life as much as their own. They have embraced the changes, as horrific as they are, and they have decided to survive and go on. It is a beautiful thing to see.
Change is an integral part of human existence. It can be overwhelming at times. It can be unpleasant. It can be downright ugly, but the single most remarkable thing about the human psyche is its resilience.