On Facebook this morning was a lovely picture of a golden sky. My attention, as my friend of the Glastonbury jaunt will tell you (pithily I suspect after seeing me make a beeline for anything solar coloured as we shopped) is caught by the golds and oranges of the sun these days.
The image was overlaid with a quote from Milton “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” I had, moments before, been writing of this precise concept though in far less beautiful words and it echoes a post written a few days ago. This courage to see to the heart of the rightness of things has been a recurrent theme lately.
Events overtake us sometimes. Unexpectedly, out of the blue, devastating our lives. One can wake up to a normal day and within hours be redefining one’s normality for a lifetime. During what one could call the acute phase of such an event we tend merely to react, as emotion takes hold of us and we are dragged through a valley of pain, fear and uncertainty. It is difficult at such times to find a quiet space of peace within to truly evaluate what is happening. Impossible to see the possibilities inherent in the bigger picture.
We all meet these events at some stage. They may be as natural but harrowing as the passing of a loved one, or one of those things that come from nowhere and make no sense, adding disbelief and confusion to the equation.
I do not write this from a purely theoretical standpoint. I have lived a rather vivid life. And, though the events have at times been appalling, I would not, looking back, change a moment of it for myself.
Events do not shape us. We do. We define our own reality by how we act when we break free of reaction. We not only define it, but create it, as our actions and perceptions shape our personal world and how we move through it.
Over recent years I have seen at close quarters how wallowing in past pain can muddy and taint each day, overlaying every moment with heartache and regret, a mistrust of life and happiness. And this has a cumulative effect, not only on the person stuck in the morass, but also on those around them who care for them and can see both their hurt and the illusory cords that bind them. For these cords have a life of their own and we are powerless to unbind another without their willingness to seek and accept freedom.
I have also been privileged to see how the most horrifying scenarios can be overcome with hope, determination and a courageous optimism, focussed on finding the possibilities in every situation and turning them towards the positive and constructive.
There is something truly awe inspiring in watching someone who has been dragged to the depths face pain, apparent humiliation, loss, and fear and seeing them rise above it with gallantry and what one can only term a nobility of spirit. One can only look on in humility when we see such a soul, bound by seemingly inescapable chains, look back at the world in love and trust, accepting that there may be more pain to come and knowing, with utter certainty, that it will only make them stronger and bring them to joy and a richness of Being that is unmatched.
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