Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Friend of Mine Said . . . . .

I heard a friend of mine say on her radio show, “I feel sorry for anyone who is not me today.”

Well now, that can certainly be construed as an egocentric, vain, and self-righteous statement if one were looking to criticize my friend.  It can be translated as, “I’m better than you.  I’m more privileged than you are, and I’m more certain of myself than you could ever be of yourself.”

But I’m not here to criticize my friend.  I’m here to illuminate her words so that they are understood in the context of how they might have been meant.  She does not consider herself better than everybody else, she is not privileged, and is no more certain of herself than you or I might be.  I believe her words were intended to convey to the listener an appreciation she has for her life, and in particular for the day ahead of her.  Her life is not without pain, and it is not without struggle.  She wakes up every day with her own doubts, with her own uncertainties, and with her own inadequacy and insecurity.  Although she is unique as an individual, she is also just like the rest of us.  Like you and me.

Our days consist of the up and down, the push and pull, the ebb and flow, if you will.  The days are actually pretty accurate microcosms of our lives.  Being that our bodies are made up of 60 to 75% water, is it any wonder we are affected in much the same way that the ocean is by its own gravitational pull?  No one is high on life all the time, and no one gets through life without the down periods.  For some those periods come daily, for some several times a day, for some much more infrequently, but we all experience them.  It is a part of life.  It is a part of our psychic, spiritual, physical and emotional experience.  The same can be said of the high times.
The point I’m getting at is that in our culture today we are encouraged to reject the down times as if they were in opposition to the human condition, as if they were fattening, or poison.  Some people use the down times to gripe and complain, to explain to whoever will listen how much life sucks.  Some will feel sorry for themselves when they enter a down cycle, and some will hunker down alone to indulge themselves in the misery.
The pharmaceutical industry, psychiatrists, and many MD’s even, would convince us that we must medicate in order to escape the down times, or to moderate the up times, to even out our internal tide as if everyone is manic depressive.  Well, I’ve got news for you, everybody is manic depressive just like that ebb and flow.  But we need not be subject to depression any more than we are subject to feeling good. 

We all go up and down with time and circumstance, with good news and bad, with loneliness and friendship, with life and death, with joy and sorrow, with love and indifference.  It is the human condition.  There are external and internal forces that affect us.  Things affect us.  That’s just how we are.  But an attitude of gratitude, an appreciation for the blessings we’ve been given in life and the pitfalls we’ve been able to avoid, just might enable one to pronounce something as seemingly simple and silly as, “I feel sorry for anyone who is not me today.”

Thanks Cathy, for that thought.