Why did I get all the lemons in life and my best friend all the apples? Is there some justice out there?
I lost my husband to a terrible road accident 13 months ago. I was left all alone grappling with a 10-month old baby at the breast and no career (or financial security).
My best friend on the other hand seemed to have it all – a great career, two beautiful children and a loving marriage. I have spent days wondering what could be the reason behind such an unfair situation.
At this point, my life felt like a skittle – being pushed around by circumstances that were happening to me, and not of my own volition.
Ajay’s going changed my life in many ways, in an instant.
Many friends will tell you that I am unlucky. Some will say I am brave. Some can’t fathom the practical issues beyond the obvious emotional ones. Some will feel that I have to be stronger because there is no room for more chaos in my life. Some are sympathetic. Some are empathetic. Some are taken aback at how normal I seem and then confused and condescending if I have a meltdown.
Whatever other people’s reactions are, tragedy does separate the wheat from the chaff. Tragedy also teaches us many things, if we are willing to learn.
If one is self-aware, it also sharpens one’s intuitions to remarkable levels. It almost becomes a form of self-protection.
My Buddhist practice has helped me understand that certain things happen to certain people, not because they are lucky or unlucky; but because they are provided an opportunity to make the correct response.
Situations are often out of our control but how we choose to respond to a situation or play the cards we are dealt, is totally our choice.
What is the correct response then? We’d only know this when we are self-aware.
We need to introspect about our actions, thoughts and feeling in all circumstances. In joyous circumstances for instance, in good health, financially stable conditions, with a happy family, are we responding with arrogance? Are we secretly contemptuous of those who don’t have the same? Do we take our good fortune for granted and then squander it away? Do we disrespect the relationships we have?
On the other hand, in a tragic situation, do we sit, fold our hands and allow life to happen to us, then later weep for our misfortune when things don’t look anything like we hoped they would.
Do we even know what we want? Or do we simply know what we don’t want?
Our responses to life are based on our clarity – to know what we want, and on our assertiveness – to know how to get it. Our responses are based on how we feel about ourselves, how we see our lives with or without the external circumstances. They are based on how much we are willing to learn and push ourselves to improve as human beings.
I am choosing to respond in a way that allows me to lead my life as I’d like to and also embrace all those around me with equal ease.
Over the last 13 months, my life has changed in many ways.
Despite having a rough time managing my schedule, my career and the baby, I am happy, aware of my responses and in control of them.
“We are not defeated by adversity, but by the will to strive and respond correctly.” Daisaku Ikeda