Is it not strange that you can live most of your life beating your brains out over things you cannot change and things you will never understand? With chagrin, I confess this to you.
Why in the world did I waste so much time wresting with the big greasy, muscle-bound mysteries of life? I guess it was because I thought I might be the one to finally whip them. You know, questions like why good people suffer, why bad people so often prevail, why God doesn’t smash with an iron fist all the people who abuse and misuse people … oh, you know what I mean.
Why did I keep on trying to change things I knew I couldn’t change? Things like people – people who insisted on walking into walls and over bluffs, cutting themselves with sharp stones, people who drink themselves into idiocy, people who squirt chemicals into their veins until they become vegetables, people who suck smoke down into their body knowing it will kill them. Things like a society that will not honor creative and holy work as much s it honors greedy work, a society that will not pay women the same for the same work men do. Injustices of all kinds eat at me like an acid.
I will not be silly and tell you not to think on these things. That would be like telling a child not to put beans in their nose. As soon as you get out of sight, they will punch beans in their nose because they are certain it must be an adult pleasure and they are chewing at the bits to become adults.
No, go ahead and think on these things. Over and over until you’ve had enough of them and get so sick of them you want to scream. Humans are just that way. They have this power of thought not given to “inferior” creatures and they just have to do it. But one day a tiny light will come on in your brain and it will get bigger and bigger until you can see the blackboard and you will find these words written on it in big letters: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS ANY LONGER.
Then when a mystery comes to mind screaming for attention, simply say, “Oh mighty muscle-bound mystery, tempting me to another wrestling match, I have now accepted Einstein’s teaching that pondering the mysteries is one of the great joys of life. I have pondered you many times. You have nice muscles. You shine real good when you sweat. I admire your symmetry. But right now, I’ve got to go buy some milk and eggs and change the baby’s diaper. See you later.”
The most marvelous mystery of all is the way tending to the mundane cancels out the stress and exhaustion of wrestling with the big boys. So go change the baby’s diaper or wash the dishes. Take a walk and ponder how good it feels to move your body.
Here’s a great revelation about trying to change people: there is only one person in this world you can change at all and that is yourself. If you’ve ever tried to do that, you know very well that it is a lifetime job requiring all your energy and attention. It took me 35 years to quit smoking and drinking to excess with my lungs and liver screaming into both ears. Where would I have found the skill and time to change someone else?
One thing that helped me was to allow my Spiritual Surgeon to install two barrels in my brain. One is marked “Things I Will Never Understand” and the other is marked, “Things I Cannot Do Anything About.” When either of those things comes to mind, I write it down on a piece of paper, crumple it up, walk over to the barrel, and toss it in.
It’s not like Uncle Oral popping you on the
forehead but it’s a pretty nice little mini-miracle.
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