by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator 07.05.2023
Recently, something unplanned and unexpected happened that caused a little minor earthquake in my plans. I have a book in which I write a daily plan of what I will accomplish that day. Anything unfinished, goes on to the list for the next day. I do not like to have to write that task over again, so generally I get things done. My whole life has been a series of lists with boxes checked.
So when there is “a plot twist” I am generally unamused.
Almost childlike in my approach to life, I like to believe that good things happen to good people. I want to believe that hard work rewards us with a positive outcome. But, this is a massive oversimplification and I am seeing that it is also damaging. Recently, I changed approaches and I would like to share it with you.
A book that really moved me and I have reread several times is Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for meaning.” In it, Frankl somehow manages to create a very generous and curious approach to facing tragedy as a Holocaust survivor. He offers us a balanced approach to avoid ‘toxic positivity’ in which we pretend things are great , when they are clearly not and a fatalistic view that we are all doomed. He also managed to not be bitter or to let suffering define him.
Now, as a writer I know that conflict is an important part of a good story. I know that an interesting character needs to have a quest and want something that they cannot easily get. I realise that life’s “tests” can be an opportunity for us to grow in ways a perfect existence will not encourage. If I really want to increase my capacity to love in the world, I need to stop avoiding them and start welcoming the diversions.
It seems like it is time for me to question my beliefs and to expand my values to involve a wider turning lane for the vehicle of life. The trails of life are not a distraction from spiritual life, they are part of it. This brings me to reflect on a popular metaphor from the Gospel of Peter:
“These trails will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is more precious than mere gold.”
Delays, disappointments, and even betrayals are part of life’s journey. We can expect the unexpected and be certain about the uncertain We don’t help ourselves in being a person who espouses toxic positivity or who allows bitterness to take root and grow a vine in our veins.
We do best to know our values and our worth so when things go wrong we can stay rooted. If we can stop seeing things as good or bad we can an open a brand new page for a new story to be written. In our efforts to be prepared and to stay safe, we miss golden opportunities to show our faith. In letting go of control, we can co-create reality rather being dragged down by feeling over responsible for everyone and everything around us. I still love a good plan and a nice list but now I leave space between the lines for the interesting plot twists.