Friday, September 16, 2011

I Just Want to Be OK

We each have individual trials, struggles, and sufferings. It's a part of life. Just like birth, puberty, taxes, and death. It comes with the territory. Lately, however, I've been contemplating the purpose of these experiences. Perhaps it is done in preparation for what I will go through in Romania. Perhaps it is just my thinking and over-analysis of said thinking. Who knows? Here are some of the conclusions I have come to.

1) We cannot entirely separate ourselves from our life events. Everything we experience becomes a part of our essence, a part of our soul. In describing the character Platon Karataev, Leo Tolstoy wrote, "But his life, as he regarded it, had no meaning as a separate thing. It had meaning only as part of a whole of which he was always conscious...He could not understand the value or significance of any word or deed taken separately."

2) Again quoting Tolstoy, "Life is everything. Life is God. Everything changes and moves and that movement is God. And while there is life there is joy in consciousness of the divine. To love life is to love God. Harder and more blessed than all else is to love one's life in sufferings, in innocent suffering."

3) It really is the time that we have wasted on our roses that makes them so worthwhile.

4) Everything will be made right in the end. If things aren't right, it's not the end.

5) The gift of love, compassion, and empathy are the greatest things man can aspire to gain in this life. A man is incomplete without these, and yet somehow, paradoxically incomplete with them. Man cannot be saved in isolation. We are not to be atomistic, individualistic, self-interested, Hobbesian beings. Indeed, the greatest thing one can ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. "The salvation of man is through love and in love." -- Viktor Frankl

6) Things will be OK. I will be OK. To love life is to love God. The inverse is also true. The object of our existence is to find happiness -- lasting happiness. That happiness comes as we lose ourselves in others. Viktor Frankl wrote, "The more one forgets himself -- by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love -- the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself."

The drive behind the decision to work in Romania stems, I think, from this last Frankl quote. Jesus said, "Whosoever shall lose his life shall find it." We become more and more human each time we give up a part of ourselves in the pursuit of something or someone else. I think that's what makes everything turn out OK in the end. I will be OK. We will be OK. The drive to make a difference is an inherently psychological and spiritual one. We seek psychological fulfillment and understanding of who we are and a spiritual understanding of our place in the world. We will be OK. I promise.