Friday, June 19, 2009

Trouble

Every one's boat has all the load it can carry. -this quote, in approximation, is attributed to W.E. Carleton.
Every one's problems seem large to them. We may comfort ourselves with comparison by saying, "It could be a lot worse. Just look at so and so." But, at the same time, our own problems wouldn't be problems if we could diminish them with such positive thinking.
I am reaching the point where I am beginning to view what I will call trouble (understood to include worry, stress, anxiety, mental or emotional anguish, sickness, pain, financial difficulties, etc., etc., etc.) not as a matter of comparative degrees, but as the portion allotted each of us as God sees fit, and equal to no one else's difficulty, but equal only to the measure of grace God makes available.
How bad are the chicken pox?
Seems to depend largely on whose children the pox has stricken.
The struggle of Sisyphus, the tragic Greek hero condemned by the gods to perpetually roll a boulder up a hill only to see it roll down again, may seem petty to a legend ten times his size, who, according to his greater stature, would see nothing but an ant rolling a pebble up an anthill.
And, conversely, Sisyphus might view Atlas' noble resignation as a little maudlin. Sure, he has to hold the world. But, look how big he is!
The great-grandfather I never knew must have reached a point of compassion attained by very few.
It is only natural, after all, to view human difficulties in the human. You might assume that lean, fit middle-aged gentleman driving past in the Lexus to have an obligation to be happy. But you couldn't know the deep-seated inadequacy that has driven him to success and now threatens to drive him to depression and thoughts of suicide.
It is a little defensive, in fact, the way we think of other's problems.
We hold to a standard of comparison so that we may reserve the right to be miserable about our own problems. And therefor stand in judgment of those whom we deem to be "making a mountain out of a molehill."
Case in point: It is largely held by today's adults that today's kids are spoiled and have it much easier than they did when they were kids. Granted, some things are much easier today than forty years ago. But, most children of the seventies were afforded the opportunity to be children and not miniature adults with schedules at the age of nine that would over stuff a day planner.
I am not a parent, but it seems to me that as mightily as you may attempt to spare your children some of the difficulty you faced as a child, that difficulty will only be replaced by something else.
Another problem with grading trouble is the assumption that there is a point of zero gravity.
Theoretically, if all trouble can be removed, we should then be happy. In fact, if everything is going smooth, you have an obligation to be happy!
It has been my experience in my short life that happiness (not to be confused with joy) runs in cycles and owes not a lot to actual circumstances.
Contentment, if based on this grading scale, is attainable with the absence of what we traditionally view as "trouble."
The area of the mind that houses worry abhors a vacuum. Financial worry, when removed, will be replaced by something else.
There is one answer.
The answer I run to more and more.
To the point where I think He is saying, "Why leave? Then you won't have to come back."

2 comments:

wncjr said...

Great blog nate.I have been worried,I mean troubled,no I mean concerned that your blog days were over since your working days have resumed.Glad to see you back.We appreciate your words of wisdom!

Nathan Carpenter said...

see what i mean? during my involuntary unemployment you were concerned about that. now that i have regained gainful employment, you worry about my writing going to seed.
so . . . .
now what?