I have been through good times and I have been through bad times. I have seen the heights of ecstasy and I have faced deep anguish and despair. These are the two faces of life all of us experience at one stage or the other. The ratio in which we experience them may be different, but joys and sorrows, although opposite in nature, mostly walk hand in hand.
This is the bitter sweet beauty of life! We all enjoy and celebrate our moments of joy, but the quality of our lives depends entirely on how we tackle adversities. Firm faith that whatever (good or bad) happens, happens for a reason and an optimistic approach towards difficulties can help one sail through the rough seas of life.
Sehrish, a mother of three, was overwhelmed by grief after the sudden death of her husband. In the morning he dropped her off at her office, but in the evening when he didn’t come to pick her up as was his daily routine, she took a rickshaw and came home.
She was a bit surprised to see him peacefully sleeping in his bed.
She learnt that he had come home a couple of hours earlier than usual and had gone to bed as he was not feeling well. Sehrish tried to wake him up but when he simply did not respond, she called in a doctor who declared that he had died in his sleep as a result of a massive heart attack. She was devastated at the news.
As to how she overcame the trauma, she says, “The following months are still a hazy memory for me. Slipping into deep depression, I gave up my job, stopped taking care of myself and was so engulfed in self-pity that I didn’t even take proper care of my three kids, who suffered physically and emotionally, because of my negative attitude, until the day when their school teachers came for a visit.
“Trying not to sound too harsh, they complained about my kids’ untidy appearance, bad performance and sliding grades. ‘Why should your children suffer for something no one could control?’ they asked me. ‘Death has taken away their father and your depression has deprived them of their mother’s love, something they now need more to make up for their loss’. Their words brought me out of the stupor”.
Sehrish says that she vowed to pull herself back to normal life for the sake of her children. She has been fairly successful as she got herself a new job and started taking interest in her children, their studies and life in general.
People surrounded by difficulties often say that life is not a bed of roses, but being a great optimist I often ask them, “Whoever said that life is a bed of thorns?” I agree that life can be cruel, but it also is kind. So, instead of complaining about life’s adversities, about what we yearned to have but could not achieve in life, just for a change, we should stop and look around ourselves.
We will find people less blessed than us, people whose lives are much tougher than ours. For a positive approach towards life, the first step is to count our blessings and forget (or at least try to do so) our deprivations. In his famed classic, War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy beautifully writes, “Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy”.
Like most people I have also had my share of hardships. But I have my own way of coping with problems. When I can find no way out of despair, even if only for the time being, I try my best to keep myself busy during the day, not allowing myself time to be depressed. “Cool down”, I keep on reminding myself, “There has to be some way out! It may take time but the solution will come”.
The rising sun brings new hopes. I leave my bed and pull back the curtains. ‘Thank God for another day’, a voice inside me whispers. In spite of the tough times, I can still feel the coolness of the morning breeze on my face, see the butterfly fluttering on the flowers in my little garden and hear the birds happily chirping away.
I draw back the curtains further to allow the sunbeams come dancing down on my bed. ‘Good Morning Sunshine!’ I exclaim with a smile as I brace myself for a new day with a renewed hope that today things might change for the better. I love to remind myself of what American journalist and author Mignon Mc Laughlin said, “Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent!”