Friday, July 23, 2010
Last Night's Storm
Last night's storm got me thinking.
Storms blow through our lives as regularly, as powerfully, as weakly as storms roll through the sky. In the midst of a rain storm we do not believe we can alter the course of the storm by our will. It rains and storms until it is over, until it moves on. In severe weather there is damage, clean up, and occasionally injury and death.
So, too, the storms in our lives.
Why, then, do we believe we can turn those personal storms into sunny days? It can't be done. Those storms are the product of two immutable things: the past and others' decisions. The longer we bemoan the fact of the storm, the longer we remain bound to it. The only change that is available is on the other side of the storm where we are presented with a new set of circumstances that incorporates the storm just past and we can decide how to proceed from that point forward.
You have a responsibility, an ownership stake in the storms in your life. You helped create them by the decisions you made, or left unmade. You have a hand in your own battering. That is why you can't alter the arc of the storm while it is happening. Your next shot at influence comes after.
But know this: it is always going to rain because while you can exert control over your own actions, your own thoughts, your own way of being in the world, learning from your past mistakes, you cannot do the same for the second immutable law of personal storms - other people's actions.
Get to this point and you'll no longer care what others do, what your opponents do, what those who would cause you harm would do because you are FREE of them. When you stop trying to control, influence or change what another might say or do, but instead concentrate your efforts on your own life, your own decisions, you leave behind the strife and stress of trying to accomplish the impossible. Let them go to hell - it is their decision. When did your life run so smoothly you had time to devote to running theirs?
Enough arrogance. Besides, isn't all that meddling just a cover for your own ineptitude at living the life you have in your hands?
* * *
Storms, once survived, if they are survivable, clear the air, wash the streets, replenish the water table, break the grip of humidity and cool things off. You can no more avoid a storm than you can avoid your death. So why bother trying?
Use what you have until you no longer have it.
Enjoy what you have until it is gone.
Care for what you have as long as you can.
Love your life so your death is not bitter.