Children who stray Parents who fail Incurable Illness Chronic pain Untimely death Malicious crime Deadly forces of nature Friends who betray Spouses who hurt
Sometimes life is hard. Is there a trial in your life? Something that is unfair, challenging your strength and your faith? Life does not come with a warranty. You can't contact God's website and ask for a replacement life or even replacements parts. But you want to call the direct line and ask to speak to someone and then SCREAM into the phone with all the pent up rage you have inside- "ITS NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!" So now what? It just sits there. No Prince Charming to wake up the sleeping princess. It feels like you're rapidly sinking into a sandpit of despair. Despair....yes, that's the word The dictionary's definition of despair is loss of hope. Another definition comes from Victor Frankel- a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the holocaust. He maintains that despair is suffering without meaning. When we do not find purpose or meaning in our existence -especially in the suffering- we fall into despair. The thesaurus gives the following synonyms: anguish, dashed hopes, despondency, sorrow, trial, disheartenment. Solomon despaired in abundance; St. Francis prayed to bring hope where there was despair. Is it a feeling or a thought? What is the origin? Imbalanced brain chemistry? Genes? Environment? A choice to be sad? Is it to be integrated? reduced? ignored? removed? overcome? Is there a "formula" to restore hope? We hear so much about the power of positive thinking. I have practiced it myself and can attest to its validity. But sometimes, in my personal research on the metaphysical power of thought, I have found that its proponents down play the reality of tragedy and despair in life. Like we can just "think" away our problems. Sometimes the church purports this principle, claiming we can just pray our problems away. What do we really want? We want control over our lives and, if possible our loved ones. But some things are out of our control. Those things we must accept and integrate; Those things we can turn over to the Spirit of love and if the miraculous occurs, we can rejoice! But what if it does not? If the child dies, the spouse does not return, the bipolar remains, the Down's Syndrome is your reality? Then what? So many sermons and motivational talks focus on overcoming adversity. The miraculous can happen and this inspires hope, lifts our spirits to believe in the impossible or at least the improbable. And many times it occurs. But when the mundane unfairness in life remains, when it hangs like a gray overcast day, then what?