It is a curse that comes from the belief that we are in control of our environment, our situation, our job, our lives. That we, in some way, can successfully manipulate and thread our existence over the course of 100 years. We are then further deluded into the belief that some arbitrary definition of success will result in happiness.
Why is this, the most technologically advanced, mobile, connected, and comfortable living society in history equally the most depressed?
If you have seen some recent videos on Facebook, the reasoning for this situation is because this generation believes they are special, they have been given a silver spoon, have never been challenged, etc. While I agree all of this is part of the problem, it is not the root cause. Instead, it is our guaranteed failure in controlling our destiny.
I wrote about this before; the idea that humanity essentially believes that we are gods. It has been perverted to all sorts of areas of life from sexuality to trying to control the climate of our planet.
Inevitably something happens. Something happens that proves the fragility of this existence. That despite all of our planning, our desires, our caution, our denial of the temporal confines of our world, everything can be taken away in an instant. This can come in the form of a car accident, a violent attack, a bad day on the stock market, an attack from a foreign power, or nature itself.
What do you respond when your fragility is fully exposed?
For those who believed that life is managed only by their strength, then the result can be crushing when reality hits. For some, suicide. Others lash out and create a miniature bubble of power and control. Sometimes people who are driven can shake off this realization, and will just try again. Some live with bitter anger. Many seem to find some addiction as an escape. Ultimately, everyone will come face to face with their humanity and the illusion of control will be stripped away.
I've been asked lately if I'm doing okay following the news of my wife's cancer. The reality is, I have no choice, no control, over the outcome of her disease and I am well aware of this position. Only God knows the plan for every life on the face of this Earth and I long ago bowed to this reality. Thus, the exposure of my helplessness is not debilitating or causing me to question life. I can only choose between the options we as a family have been presented, be saddened or encouraged by the potential outcomes that may result, and carry on.
I place my faith in a man who claims to have power over life and death who also demonstrated the ultimate proof that this present existence is broken and inequitable. I take comfort in knowing this existence is not all there is to life.
The next few months are going to be hard. Life isn't going to feel good. But, I never expected it to always be filled with rainbows. More than anything, I am simply saddened at my helpless to take away the pain that my wife must endure each day of this journey.
So, I encourage each of you to stop trying to control life; to accept the world around you as it is. It is freeing to end the pursuit of "controlling" this world, or attempting to establish a little bubble of perfection. Instead focus on the little things in life - family, being warm and dry, friendship. Show others the joy that comes from helping one another. The ultimate freedom, however, comes in believing that God is in ultimate control and has a plan. When you live in that reality, the ups and downs of this world lose their significance and you can look forward to what lies beyond the horizon despite the struggles of today.