Thursday, October 16, 2008

Refiner’s Fire

My friends have been telling me that this whole process of working in a situation which intensifies more than internal surge protectors can contain, is a “character building exercise.”

My response has consistently been “I don’t need flies pitching on me to build character.”

I felt I had already grown beyond this situation, the chaos in this country, overwhelmingly outdated living conditions (including no electricity and running water for 6 weeks), cover-ups beyond anything I have seen in public relations, blah blah blah…

But I hadn’t.

The beauty of this life is that as long as we have breath, we can review, reflect, introspect, and utilise all the verbs necessary to find deeper meaning in the midst of any circumstance.

(Enter the character building bit.)

Apparently that is what they meant- finding deeper meaning to my own existence because my purpose is greater than my circumstance.

But I am human.

I get distracted by flies feasting on me and I get frustrated when things don’t work the way they should, nor even with the contingencies that my-event-planning-self meticulously budget for.

This, my new reality, is the “Small Islant Mentality” personified. It means that absolutely nothing goes according to plan, not because of Murphy’s Law, but because of a decidedly myopic framework that prevents inhabitants from “seeing the big picture.”

How can you convince someone to think beyond parochial borders when their idea of success is driving a gas guzzling luxury vehicle on a 7 mile long island, where there is a one-handed mechanic who is always drunk, no wheel alignment machinery, one nameless grade of fuel, and enough sea air to guarantee rust in a few years? You can’t.

The problem is that for now, you have to live with them, and their myopia, and no matter how exposed and unbridled your perspectives are, unless you are going to self-fund a world tour for every jack man and child, they will remain so. So what so you do?

You shift your paradigm.

One of the most revealing things I read from Imelda’s extensive library is that when you have reached a higher plane in your own development, you must be understanding of those who have not yet risen to that level of consciousness.

What is the point of the housewife marrying the man who is a career spendthrift and spending the rest of her life watching him whittle their joint savings away on every gadget meaningless known to mankind? She too has to shift her paradigm- get another provider who understands that KEEPING money is as important as making it, or get a job herself and take over the finances.

I must shift my paradigm.

I must find my purpose here, which is not to be frustrated, nor to lower my standards, but to critically adjust the way I go about things and my own expectations.

If the donkey doesn’t want water, don’t force him to drink.

He clearly doesn’t know that he is thirsty. He doesn’t understand thirst because he has never been quenched.

It’s hard. No it is damn hard. How do you not do what you feel is exactly what you need to do and be happy about that?

It is actually a little simpler than I thought.

Did you bring the donkey to the water? ‘Yes’
Did you explain clearly, without insulting his ignorance the benefits or drinking water and the repercussions for not so. “Yes”
Then that is your job.

It is his life. He makes his own decisions and works out his own salvation.

Repeated attempts to convince him to drink will only frustrate you to the point where you forget about the bit of “not insulting his ignorance” and then you insult his ignorance and you reach deadlock. You die of a brain haemorrhage and he dies of thirst.

Just as he has to work out his own salvation, so do you.

So save your sanity. Guard the joy and peace and love, and hope that God has blessed you with.

In fact, better yet, build on your own character.


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