Ready? Here it is:
Feelings are not the boss of me. […] My fundamental happiness takes nothing away from being sad or angry at a person or a situation, and the sadness or anger do not destroy the fundamental contentment.
“Hey,” the astute reader might exclaim. “THAT is the Major Revelation? You just wrote those words less than two months ago.”
Yes, astute reader, I did. But I forgot. Sometimes I need to remind myself of basic truths because I forget that “feelings… come and go, ripples on the pond of my contentment.” Sometimes I concentrate so much on the ripples that I lose track of the steady, still, soothing depth of the water beneath the surface. Which is real? Both are, and I can choose where to direct my attention.
I saw a skit once, put on by a young adults’ church group. One person is sitting to the side of a darkened stage, his back to the rest of the people on stage. These other people are standing around a lamp that sheds light on most of the stage but, of course, the guy over at the side can’t see it. “It’s so dark,” he complains. “I hate the dark. I wish there was some light. Why should I have to be here in the dark?”
“You don’t have to,” exclaim the excited young people gathered around the lit lamp. They move to the far side of the lamp. “Just turn around and look over here. We have light! Turn around and you can see it, too!”
“No, you don’t understand. It’s dark here. I can’t see anything.”
It’s all about choice. Without choice, I feel helpless and depressed. With choice, I can decide not to concentrate on the ripples that disturb the water’s surface but instead turn my attention to the underlying serenity of the deep. I can choose to lean on the Rock from whom I draw strength. I can mourn my late friend and grieve over what was and what might have been while still living well. I can be sad without sadness taking over my life.
I can also choose to spend time looking at the ripples and being upset at the disturbed surface of the pond. It’s okay if I want to do that now, because I have remembered that it’s my choice.
And whatever I choose, it takes nothing away from the hard-won fundamental happiness of my being. It will still be there, whenever I choose to draw on it.