She was a very quiet, modest, middle-aged lady. He was a young clergyman, probably in his early thirties, who was sitting beside her in the midtown doctor's office. I was there in the same room, reading my book, hoping to kill time while waiting to see my practitioner.
I'll admit my crime: I couldn't concentrate on the book. I was listening to the conversation between these two people. I know, my behavior was totally unacceptable, but I hope that the quiet lady and young priest will forgive me. I hope!
"Why me again, Father? Why is this happening to me? Is there any answer to my question? Tell me, please, what have I done so badly in my life to `deserve' such poor health?"
A thousand-year-old question: "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
Who knows the answer?
The words were an expression of emotional pain and a cry of anguish. I knew any rational explanation would be irrelevant; he knew an expression of pain required empathy.
What was he going to say?
"All events serve precisely for what we need at that time. Sometimes in life adversity can be a wake-up call, encouraging us to learn, not to punish us. If you have an acceptance and understanding that a human life consists of moments of happiness and moments of sadness, during the time of sadness you will know that there is another side of it. Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. There is a purpose and meaning to the difficult times we face. It's part of our soul's journey. Some experiences may seem bad at that moment, only because we lack the perspective of the bigger picture."
I couldn't stop thinking about that conversation. No, it wasn't a conversation; it was a sermon in the midtown doctor's office.
"What's this? Is he teaching her the lesson or is he comforting her?"
It was not up to me to make any judgmental thoughts. I was there as an "intruder".
The lady didn't say anything.
I heard his soft voice saying: "Events in our life are not mere coincidences, nothing just happens; there is always a powerful lesson to learn. Still, life's fullness isn't stripped away just because you're going through a difficult time. When something bad happens, the first step should be to try to understand the message, not to suffer. It's our obligation and wisdom to figure out the message, and move forward. It's hard to understand and accept, but it's true."
"I know and understand that, Father, but help me to heal this emptiness within me. I have no confidence in my abilities."
"You have a power within you. I know that. The emotional healing will take place only when you learn to accept and experience the full range of your feelings. The true healing lies in self- acceptance. I believe that every one of us is born into life with the inner power and possibility to experience prosperity. Every individual has a unique mission to fulfill. Our soul has a purpose in this life. No matter what happens, look for the good. When you seek it, you will find it."
I posed a question to myself: "Where am I, in a church or in the midtown office? What's wrong with this place today?"
The priest didn't raise his voice when he said:
"Early in my seminary, I accepted that life is always trying to teach us exactly what we need to learn. Whatever happened to me, I saw it as a gift and a lesson to learn. The more I've learned and the more I've accepted, the more freedom, wholeness and satisfaction I've experienced. When bad thing happened to me, ten years ago, I could either check out from life or move forward and grow. I chose God as my choice. Everyone has their own challenges, and I learned from my own."
I heard the announcement: "Father, please, the doctor is waiting for you."
"Just one more thing, before I go," said the young priest in a wheelchair, "I can't remember who, but someone wisely said:
`When life becomes a battleground, your mind is your best weapon.'"
The lesson was over. The young ill priest and the middle-aged lady would probably never meet again. Everyone needs to learn the lesson for themselves.
I still was there, in shock!
What a powerful lesson I learned today in that midtown room, listening to this conversation. We need to know how to accept defeat when it is not possible to win, and also, we need to fight under any given conditions!
How to choose our strategy?
Whatever the outcome of our strategy is, be thankful and grateful for what you have done. Give yourself credit for facing challenges in life and connect to your spiritual essence.
We are limited only by our own thoughts and beliefs.