I entered a very disconcerting phase of my life 5 months ago. All those things large, small, & in-between that made my 50 year’s of life a tough slog finally caught-up with me. And so, I checked myself into the psychiatric ward of one of the local hospitals.
Notice I said they were the things that made my life a tough slog. We each have our own menu of situations & encounters that we react to either positively or negatively. Some persons are devastated by a hangnail, others barely slow down if their arm gets amputated. I admit I am closer to the hangnail end of the spectrum. And not only would the pain of the hangnail itself bother me but I would want to know why I got a hangnail in the first place and why God allows anyone to suffer with hangnails and the whys of all hangnail-related questions in our universe.
During the week I was locked in the booby-hatch one of the group-therapists said I “ask far too many whys.” I responded that I had always hoped that, if I could understand why things are as they are, I could tolerate it better. “Things are what they are; just get over it!” was his answer. I still fail to see how that attitude is more therapeutic (or actually any different) than the religionists who say we must just accept whatever happens to us as inscrutable God’s will.
Thirty years ago, I went to my family doctor (one of those luxuries back in the days when I had health insurance) and told him I was extremely stressed-out. “Why are you stressed-out?” he inquired in his best bedside manner. I replied, “Over money.” He offered this advice as he immediately directed me out of the examination room to pay the receptionist $35: “Learn to relax.”
Sage wisdom, indeed! But not so easy to practice in a world that is determined to put us under unbearable pressure.