As I suggested last week, December may bring up a lot of memories or uncomfortable life challenges from the past. It is a good idea to have some skills at hand that can be of help. For example, one of my adult students asked me this morning what I thought of the recent news about the possibility of an impending war with North Korea. My response was about realizing that while there is nothing each of us can do to prevent it, we can certainly call our state and local government representatives and let them know what we are thinking. We can post our thoughts on social media and even contact news agencies.
One truth is that whatever will be, will be. This implies that while we are not in control, we can’t change the course of history or fate. Others would argue that prayer changes things and if enough people are praying for peace we can bypass a war that would kill millions of children, adults, animals, plants, and life as we know it in certain parts of the world. I also suggested that there are enough intelligent people surrounding both leaders that could hopefully assist in avoiding a war like the news is presenting.
While I was busy running some errands today, I realized that there are millions of people in the world. We each have our own hopes, dreams, fears, etc. That got me thinking about how all the things we think about would be gone forever if we were killed in a nuclear attack or some other very unfortunate accident. Yet, this again, my friends, is the nature of our existence; very delicate, very precarious, very uncertain. Does knowing that change anything for you? Probably not.
It reminds me a lot of Author Pema Chodron’s writings about accepting life as it is, in this moment, not wanting it to be different. And yet, the goals we strive for are also a part of our nature to improve or change things that don’t work well. You could almost say this challenge is a conundrum which means an unanswerable riddle or problem. If we look back throughout history, we see humans inventing many things which make our lives easier today like cars and airplanes.
Since the beginning of time and recorded history, there has been mentioned war, illness, and destruction all leading to death. Not a pleasant message. However, there are also the stories of all the good people in the world who have fought against evil, negative intentions. I suppose if one doesn’t fear death, then these challenges become a bit easier to tolerate.
In closing, however, I would like to share something that has inspired me a lot over the years. In Judaism, there is a saying “never again,” about never repeating the horrors of gassing people to death and yet wars still go on and on and many refugees and immigrants from Syria and other countries are now faced with history repeating itself. It would seem to me that there is a blatant message trying to come through. For me, that message is the planet is one home for us all and we had better learn to try and get along together or not. In the final analysis, there are no winners with the most land, money or titles. The real winners are those of us who try our best to encourage tolerance, acceptance, kindness, goodness, and other adjectives you’d like to see in action unless you are hell-bent on destruction. Then there is no end to the same story being told in different generations. Only time will tell.
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