Tuesday, March 13, 2018
With St. Patrick's Day just a few days away, it seems appropriate to share a little Irish wisdom and this quote from that rascally Irishman George Bernard Shaw is about as wise anything as anything I can think of.
I'm pretty sure most will agree that life is not always easy, but we might not agree that it is not meant to be easy. I like to think that the universe is a beneficent place that wishes all its inhabits to be happy and, actually, that's pretty much how I see it. But I also believe the universe intends for us to be all that we can be. It wants us to grow and to be ourselves beneficent. Would that be possible if life were always easy? I doubt it.
How could we grow if we never had to work our way through life's uneasy patches? How could we learn to be beneficent if we did not need beneficence ourselves? That's where those uneasy patches come in. We need to be humbled every now and then before we understand that it's not ease the world needs, but kindness and forgiveness. How does the universe teach us those things?
It puts rocks in our paths. We stumble. Our courage is tested. Someone stretches out a hand and helps us up. We're grateful. It's good to be back on our feet. There's another side, though. We're humbled. As good as it is to be upright again, we really wish we hadn't had to depend on someone else. It's not easy to accept help. We're tempted to feel the tiniest bit sorry for ourselves. Then someone else stumbles. We help them up. It feels good to know that we've helped someone. We're proud, maybe so proud that our hard-learned humility gets pushed into the background. Big mistake, because we're sure to stumble again. And need to be helped up again. And be humbled again. And be given another opportunity to extend a hand to stumbling humanity. And so it goes.
This ebb and flow of stumbling and falling, needing a hand and extending a hand, continues - and we grow. We even learn to value humility. We come to understand that both sides of helping and being helped are gifts. Accepting becomes part of the cycle of giving. Humility becomes part of courage. The universe is better, more beneficent, when we allow ourselves to accept help.
So, as Mr. Shaw advises, take courage, my child, work your way through those uneasy patches, accept help when you need it, and never pass up a chance to help someone else. It's all part of life, which Mr. Shaw so wisely described as "delightful".
I hope you all have a delightful St. Patrick's Day.
Labels: George Nernard Shaw, human condition, humility, Irish wisdom, learning from adversity, St. Patrick's Day
I was born in the Midwest, but following my husband's job transfers has taken me South and, finally, to the Northeast. Wherever I've lived, books and book groups have helped bridge the gap between my old and new homes, and have helped me find kindred spirts as friends. And I've learned how unimportant the small regional differences are.