april eighth

The first nine months of our existence is  laden with lies. Or, at the very least, fables. While not directly false, the truth of the matter is often warped or altered to seem more desirable. Patiently, we sit for nine months, anticipating our admission into a comedy, without realizing what we paid for was a drama.

These fables do not stop as we enter the world. Within the follow seven years of our existence, our minds are filled with endless tales of proverbial caterpillars, trees and ducklings. Through these stories, concepts true to life are alluded to, letting us draw our own conclusions of the world.

It is always polite to share..

One day we will all turn out beautiful…

The act of giving is something that cannot be compared to.

While all true statements, the tones behind the stories lack a very essential quality: life cannot always be explained by hungry caterpillars and giving trees; there are somethings we cannot be prepared for, even with the help of forest critters.

While these aspects in life are never avoidable, the ways in which we approach them will dictate how our lives will be. Should we look at these moments as dark, then our lives will be dark; but, should we look at these things with hope, then our lives will be filled with hope.

The other day was both opened and closed with a similar thematic idea: what do you do when you get something you were neither prepared nor excited for? This was specifically surrounding the idea of children. In the morning, I read an inspiring story about a mother who gave birth to a young girl who – unbeknownst to her at the time – had down’s syndrome. Quite similarly, in the evening, I began book about a couple adopting a child from China, only to discover days before they were to venture across the great ocean to receive her, the she had been born deaf.

In both instances, the first few moments after discovering the news, the parents felt an emotion  that – to me – seemed undesirable. The mother of the baby girl with down’s syndrome felt fear and sadness, while the potential parents of the girl from China considered resigning from their contract with the Chinese.

At first I was appalled. Mostly at the parents of the China girl, but both stories filled me with hurt. How could a mother or father not want their baby due to something like this? But then, I stopped. How could I be so sure that I would not have the same reaction? We are all human and cannot be held completely accountable for our immediate reactions. Perhaps the mother of the little girl with down’s syndrome had visions of the future with a child without being physically or mentally impaired; perhaps the prospective parents of the China girl had plans for their daughter to hear music with them. Who knows? And more, who am I to judge?

It was not long before both sets of parents were persuaded to the more positive side: genuine, parental love. The mother of the baby girl with down’s syndrome began to become more worried about her initial reactions toward the baby girl: did she make the child feel loved? The parents of the China girl realized that hindering their contract would be no different than them giving up their first, naturally conceived child after discovering something akin to this.

Naturally, all of this caused my mind to become enthralled in the notion of not getting what you expect. In life, we are never prepared for things like this. No one tells us, ‘you will have a baby with down syndrome’, or to leave the idea of birth all together, ‘you will deal with great struggles within your life’. While these facts would be of great help, they are omitted from our knowledge until the moment actually strikes. Then, we are essentially told to deal with it in whatever way we can.

This mind-frame took me back to the Buddha’s fundamental beliefs of pain, suffering and happiness: one must never avoid pain, but endure it, grow from it and exercise the ability to not react to it with anger. Instead of letting pain be something than hinders us, urge it to move us and use the experiences as forms of growth.

This is one principle of life I would love to exercise more often. Similar to most people, I look at life hued with negativity. When something undesirable occurs, I immediately ask: why me?

But honestly, what good will that do me? No one will answer, and no one answer will be deemed as justified. Instead, I would love to skip that question all together and take each moment as it comes. Instead of seeing pain as suffering, seize it as opportunity. Embrace it.

In life, you should never let something happen to you, but only should you let something happen for you.

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