These days, I find myself with a lot of time to think. That’s almost a treasonous statement in today’s political spectrum. Thinking is something people used to do before technology made it unnecessary and distrust of the media made it anathema. I don’t care. I like thinking. It reminds me I’m still alive and have things to do. If that makes me unpatriotic, so be it. I’m already educated, so that makes me suspect. And, again, I don’t care.
Lately I’ve been pondering the fact that so many of life’s heartaches begin as celebrations. Think about it. There can be no illness, injury or death, without birth. Marriage brings with it unexpected trials, including those above and, of course, divorce. Landing that “perfect” job is only the beginning of a long road littered with disappointment and perseverance. The truth is, tragedy is a human prognosis. We cannot escape it, yet we struggle valiantly to deny it.
I’ve begun to wonder if maybe the pursuit of happiness is a rebellion against the natural order. Or perhaps a more universally pragmatic approach is needed before such pursuits can be fully realized. Pleasure cannot be experienced without the knowledge of pain. Love is not possible without the awareness of hate. And elation has no meaning without the very real prospect of misery. The precepts of cause and effect dictate that there cannot be one without the other. These are simple, unavoidable truths.
Yet still we aspire to joy without retribution. We yearn for prosperity. We extol the virtues of ecstasy. We pray for paradise. We reject the promise of tribulation. We deny the darkness that surrounds us. We forget we are finite, fatalistic and fragile. Lamentably, we are always surprised and dismayed when reality demands its pound of flesh. We are crippled by our inability to accept the inevitable. That is the true human condition. The nature of the beast.
Nobody ever expects to be mournful when they hear the words, “congratulations,” “I love you” or “you’re going to be a father.”
Perhaps they should. Think about it.