Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Facing Reality

Facing reality can be hard for some people. Although it doesn't help to say that I understand, I understand nevertheless. I know that your grim reality drains you. It sucks you dry. It leaves nothing but visceral dread behind. It is difficult to face them because you don't see much hope of ever overcoming it. You just don't have the strength. You just don't see the point. Here are some raw realities I have encountered (or read about) in my life.

There is the tormented wife and the reality of an unfaithful husband. It doesn't stop there. The husband is also unrepentant. He claims philandering as of right. He despises his wife for aging, for changing, for becoming less than what he had married her for. It is as if the long stick (of youth and beauty) he once drew at the altar suddenly grew shorter and shorter and he now blames her for his drawing and holding on to the short end of the stick in the marriage.

So he detests her deterioration. He wants a younger, prettier thing. He wants to be satisfied, not just sexually, but from the angle of his own vanity and pride. He wants a trophy partner, polished, new and gleaming. And not his wife, wrinkled, dull and aging.

That's her painful reality. That's her anguish. And time is not helping. Its hours and minutes are like the hungry mindless crowd in a Roman Coliseum, clamoring for the kill, mocking her, waiting for the final stroke to put her to sleep for good. And words of comfort only dull the pain, it doesn't take it away.

She is still lost. She is still lonely. And sometimes death seems like the only release. But something inside of her inexplicably resists that compulsion because it is just too easy. She can't understand it. She doesn't know why. But somehow that resistance is the last remaining strength she has that make sense in a world where all meaning has become too betraying for her to rely on.

Then there is the reality of a man who has lost everything in a tragic accident. His wife and children all gone. In one act, one cruel moment in time, everything changed. Every hope is lost. Every purpose stolen. Every thing that is pure and good died that day. It was so sudden a total severance that he is still reeling from it.

In fact, no amount of his present and future put together can make up for that one heart wrenching moment in the past. His life ended yesterday and he is merely existing today and the day after not by acts of self will but by default. Time again is a cruel master of fate. She grants this broken, irreparable soul not the courage to end it so that he could be delivered into the hands of blissful oblivion. On the contrary, time parcels on the torture, deliberately spreading it thin so that the tormented soul has just enough hope to delude himself that it is all a very bad dream. And this delusion is the only tenuous hope he has against the unbearable torture of his day-to-day reality.

I can go on with this. I can write about a mother praying for her young daughter who was abducted in the course of an overseas holiday. Since that day, she has not slept a wink. She is tormented by countless mental chambers of torture that her small and fragile mind doesn't have the space to contain them all. She is losing her mind. She is losing reality by confronting it. She cannot eat. She cannot work. She cannot end her life because she cannot bear the thought that ending it means ending all hope of finding her beloved child. Hers is a reality that she cannot face but it is also one that she cannot afford not to face. It is a reality of soul-tearing uncertainty that literally rots the inner most part of her soul.

I can also write about a child who is given a medical death sentence leading to an end most unspeakable or a financial ruin that will shatter a family to pieces or the compounded tragedy of a young girl of no more than 14 who was gang raped, abandoned by her family for dishonoring them, left on the street for death, and sold into prostitution - thereby never experiencing love of a kind that would give her the faith and hope for a kinder world. And her end is to die in complete anonymity with the welcoming arms of death as the only kindness she will ever come to experience in her brief and miserable life.

Alas, I think I have driven the reality stake deep enough into the heart of human pain and suffering. Nothing can ever prepare us for what these lives had gone and will go through. The reality they face makes ours a mere slap on the wrist. While I have no answers to the tragedy of living, and nothing of the sort that even comes close to providing some form of relief to their daily torment, I can only look at my own life and live it in quiet surrender and reflective humility.

Each of us has to face our own reality. And while it will not be as dreadful as some of the examples I have provided here, it will no doubt be a reality we will have to overcome before it overwhelms us. We can do ourselves a favor by facing our reality with some resilience, optimism and resolve. Because ultimately we live not for ourselves, we live for our loved ones who will one day face their own reality and will thereafter look to ours for inspiration and hope. That much we own it to them to live our life well and to make the most of everyday.

Here I recall a saying that you don't have to have the best of everything to be happy. You just have to make the best of everything. And that is contentment enough for a life not meant to live forever in this fallen world. Cheerz.

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