Looking ahead is an exercise that fills me with the unknown. A simple email this morning reminded me that at some level, maybe only the most basic that is near the core of our being, everyone in this world has an opportunity to help another. It maybe someone you disagree with or even worse. It could be someone that you think about and shed a tear for. Whatever the relationship, you and I can be a positive force in her/his life.
The view ahead is murky at best. Will our confidence return? Is there a viable economic recovery ahead? Where are the good days – in front or behind? Whatever one’s view is, it is difficult to express it to anyone, including one’s self, with confidence. There are too many reasons to be hesitant.
In the face of this, I can see some that are turning within. It is as if they have turned away from hope, trusting that their hedonistic approach will at least bring happiness. Life reminds me, and I agree, that relying within for pleasure and happiness never works. Yet old works still play out today; “these people sneer at anything they can’t understand, and by doing whatever they feel like doing—living by animal instinct only—they participate in their own destruction. I’m fed up with them!” (Jude 1.10)
The alternative is to remember Ernst Shackleton’s family motto; “by endurance we conquer”. If one endures, trusting the compassion, community, and care in action are at the core of complete living, one wins no matter what the crystal ball predicts.
Life’s uncertainty is a given. Life has far too many examples of pain, suffering, and death. Often, we are forced to live in hells of our own creation. Yet, equally true, is that fear strikes all without regard. Sickness and disaster touch the deserving and innocent without notice.
Wherever you find yourself, in whatever circumstance, you have an opportunity that is the same as mine. We have the freedom within to make a difference without – for others and for ourselves – in this moment.