So many people I meet don't seem to have any expectation that we humans have every right to be happy. They seem to expect the worst from their encounters with others, and life in general. "Life wasn't meant to be easy" is quoted by many- as they give up on seeing joy in any interaction..... let alone believing they may find joy in every interaction. Some people seem to go through life expecting the worst outcomes every time!
George Bernard Shaw's original quote was "Life wasn't meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful." The Oxford dictionary tells me the word delightful is a noun and means "gives great pleasure."
Certainly many of life's experiences don't immediately give great pleasure- often quite the opposite. But I firmly believe, and live with the attitude, that there is always a "rightness" in everything that comes my way (actually everything I bring my way is more how I look at life). I find that delightful.
My attitude these days is not "Why did this happen to me?" but rather "Why did this happen for me?" It makes sense to me that each moment of my life is occurring,with purpose, for me. That opportunities are presented for me to, firstly, notice and then act upon should I choose. I find that even more delightful.
Let me give you an example.......
About 23 years ago my husband and I lost our unborn daughter. I was 21 weeks pregnant, her condition was "incompatible with life" and it felt like the greatest tragedy I had ever had to endure. I found that many of my friends just didn't know what to say- so many said nothing and that seemed kind of cruel to me at the time. Family, out of love, just wanted me to "put it behind me and try again." Of course the Doctor reassured my husband and I that this was "purely bad luck" and there was no reason to think we could not have healthy children because we already had a beautiful 1 year old daughter .
Blahhh! My mood felt very dark, but the cloud eventually lifted, and we did indeed have 2 more beautiful, healthy children. We "moved on" as some might say. But it was years later, after lots of living, experiences, interactions with others, observation and meditation that I realised that tragedy happened for me. You see, prior to losing our baby I had been involved in a community support group for new mothers and had been invited to train as a counsellor. I had declined that opportunity because I felt I was not emotionally equipped with the life skills to offer the kind of support required. But a couple of months after our baby died, I realised I had a sense of compassion that I now wanted to channel into that counselling. A few years of counselling then led me into training others within that community organisation. I remained involved for nearly 10 years. Over the years those counselling and empathy skills probably saved my marriage many times over, assisted me in being the best mother I could be (in fact probably the best person I could be), led me to studies in the areas of caring for others, and allowed me to develop a sense of empathy which greatly assists me in the business I now operate.
23 years ago I could not have imagined any "rightness" coming from the loss of our baby. But now I see how the sacrifice I believe that little soul made with her brief life, steered my own life in directions it would otherwise never have gone. It is with so much gratitude that I think of her. One event just seemed to lead to so many others......
Having had that experience, and seeing the pathway it led me along has allowed me to look for the rightness, rather than remaining focused on the difficulty, in life's challenges. Sometimes I just think, "what can I learn from this?" ( In that particular case I learnt straight away that it hurts more not to acknowledge a friend's grief than to simply say "I'm sorry for your loss." Now I do that.) For several years I have lived with this concept. It's not always obvious, and often not easy in challenging situations, but it gives me a sense of peace - and hope every time. on a day to day basis it works like this.....When I have a client cancel at the last minute I think " what can I use this time for, why was it given to me?" Perhaps bookwork, meditation, study, rest, catch up with a friend.... I always know there is a wonderful purpose for that time now available to me. When I am unexpectedly stuck in traffic, I consider that I am delayed to arrive at just the right time- perhaps to avoid or encounter some other situation than if I arrived on time. When my 16-year-old child suddenly became unwell, had to leave school and begin home schooling (that was a working parent's challenge!) I was able to acknowledge I was being presented the chance to develop patience, tolerance, and we spoke about how she would also gain tolerance for others "outside" the "normal" for teenagers. When our luggage got lost on an airline flight I was grateful it was a domestic flight, and felt grateful to think I had a gentle lesson to purchase travel insurance-especially on any future international flights. If rain puts an end to plans outdoors I think about all the indoor opportunities. When my darling Dad was dying and I travelled several hours to and fro to visit him each week, I felt blessed to have that chance rather than suddenly lose him. And on and on it goes...... find the rightness and you'll find some peace.