Monday, February 23, 2015

Illuminations 2/20

I received a letter recently that read, "I've come to realize that, for some reason, most of the kindest people I know have undergone some form of tragedy. Why is that?" I read these sentences over and over; I wanted to have a definitive answer. I wanted to be able to say, "This. This is why." Finding I couldn't, I left my apartment one morning and walked until I had a response. This is tentative, and I'm bound to change my mind tomorrow, but right now I feel like I know what I want to say. Best to catch it on paper before it slips away.
This is dreary stuff, so here are some cute photos
Suffering can be beautiful because it's in the presence of bad that one can truly appreciate the good. I have a friend whose mother has been battling with cancer for two years, and Christmas has a special joy to him because it means he gets to spend at least one more holiday with her. Whereas the rest of us grumble about caroling and long lines, he's aglow with the knowledge that he will have more memories of his mother.

I have a friend who lived in a house rife with domestic abuse his entire life. While all college kids revel in the freedom that comes with living on one's own, my friend attaches special meaning to this independence. It means he doesn't have to witness his mother's accidents. He doesn't have to sleep with a baseball bat, and he doesn't have to live in fear.

one more cuteness break
Like most people, my home life was complicated; if it weren't, I don’t think I’d be as awestruck with ordinary activities. Having lived through what I did, I can see the stifling heat as a lovely reminder that I'm alive and free. When a friend tells me, over cups of tea, that I'm cared about, I can believe it. When I eat something particularly delicious, I can be fully grateful for it. It's unfortunate that we live in a world where suffering is part of the human condition, but would we really appreciate the beauty of the world if we didn't have to also deal with the ugliness?

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