The world is full of problems and some people seem to get more than their fair share. Some children enter the world far more disadvantaged than others. Many are born with life threatening and disfiguring illnesses – that adversely affect them for life. Others are born into war-torn countries; others into abject poverty. Some are raised in abusive homes and are neglected by their parents. Even children of the wealthy and powerful are not immune to suffering.
It never fails to amaze me how well adjusted some of the most afflicted and, often, marginalized people appear. They are acutely aware of their disadvantages and the challenges of their lives. Yet, somehow they learn to appreciate and enjoy the simple things in life. They are happy to earn a living and to live in peace. They rejoice over the smallest accomplishments.
Those with the most to complain about seem to complain the least. They are often criticized, ostracized, and treated unfairly in other ways because of things over which they have no control. But the most afflicted tend not to see themselves as victims to whom the world owes a great debt. They don’t wear their disadvantages on their sleeves demanding attention from others. To the contrary, they don’t want to stand out or be noticed. Therefore, they try to blend in. They want the freedom to live like everyone else.
Such people seem to take the burdens that life has handed them into stride. For them, each accomplishment is appreciated and none are taken for granted. Every kind act and word is cherished and they take advantage of every opportunity they are granted. They don’t wallow in self-pity, perhaps they simply don’t have the time to do so because they are busy living instead of complaining. They tend not to be easily offended. They are quick to forgive, laugh easily and heartily and they possess an almost enviable appreciation for the deeper things of life.
No, life isn’t fair! But some, despite their sometimes, seemingly insurmountable challenges, appear to have figured out how to love themselves and to be at peace with the burdens cast upon them. Somehow they learn how to ride life instead of letting life ride them. They tend to view life as an adventure with a definite beginning and end (even though they don’t know where or how the end will come).
Anticipation, contentment, focus, perseverance, and possessing the discipline needed to overcome personal challenges are some of the rewards those most afflicted seem to experience more often than others.
The most disadvantaged among us often illustrate through their accomplishments and attitudes the truism: despite inequities life offers many rewards and overcoming means putting mind over matter.