In Brief — A passing flirtation with theology allows the author to explore the relationship between love in our hearts, those we feel are our angels and the bad things that can make life miserable. [Written in April-May 2017.]
Life is Like a Box of Chocolates (Forrest Gump)
Your life is like a roller-coaster ride: ups and downs. As Forrest Gump wisely continued in his analogy, “…you never know what you’re going to get.” Up, down, good, bad, every experience, no matter how seemingly insignificant, adds to the person you are.
Imagine a graph with a vertical axis and a horizontal axis. Let’s arbitrarily say the vertical line is Love and the horizontal one is denominated Angels. Where the two lines meet in the corner, or the zero point, we will call the Devils. Each line is graded, up and horizontally from zero to 100. The people or the incidents in your life will fall somewhere on that graph.
With that as a starting point, I will take a look at my life and place significant people and incidents on that graph. I don’t have any enemies that I know of, but there are certainly painful incidents that have affected me. Good ones, too. You might want to think of your own life in these terms.
Richard Bach’s “Illusions” says, “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.”
I will modify this wisdom only to the extent of saying that gifts come with every incident in your life, not just the problems that have plagued you. Accept those gifts in the realization that they are adding to the person that you are becoming. Whether you realize it or not, you are growing as a result.
The people in my life, wives, children and their significant others, friends and relatives sit somewhere on that graph. I’ll say only that my current wife, my children and my dear friends rest on the high end of that graph. I love them and consider them angels.
My former wives sit slightly lower on that graph, but I hasten to add that they have taught me more than they will ever know. Some of those lessons were painful, but I grew because of them and their gifts. For this I’m thankful. I hope they are, too.
One of my angel friends sends me books, sharing her pleasure and adding to the person I’m becoming. Other dear friends send me thoughtful articles, films, laughter, the latest news, pieces of the larger world and glimpses of themselves. All of these are gifts and become part of me.
Former girlfriends shared themselves with me. Most of them think I’ve forgotten them although I haven’t. Even though I have a suspicion they’ve probably chalked me up to a youthful mistake, they taught me about myself. More importantly (though they may not want to know this), we have both contributed to the individuals we are today.
I often complain of the physical limitations I’m dealing with since the operation, but if I look beyond the surface, I find that I’ve grown because of the limitations. I’ve had new experiences, time to think, read and reflect. I’ve been able to contribute in small ways to others. I’ve grown.
Look at your own life, the love, the angels and the devils. They’re there, sometimes hiding, often not, but they’re there.
Consider this quotation from “Illusions”: “Here’s a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
The Weekly Sampler—
As a reminder, go to the Archives on the right side of the page and click on the month and year of that week’s featured Sampler. If you wish, go to the January 15, 2017, blog (“A Simple Reading Assignment”) for more thorough instructions.
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