Of Life and Death

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“It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.” — John Steinbeck

We are born soft. Not weak, but with a certain sweetness deep inside our souls. As kids, we feel invincible in our desire to discover the world, to conquer it, to become who we want to be.

Nothing seems impossible. Nothing is out of reach.

But then we grow up and most often than not, we grow weary of others. We try to be like them, we want them to like us, we want to be accepted…

The world throws a bunch of rules on us and expects us to comply. There are a lot of lies, a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of bullshit. There’s a lot of pain, a lot of suffering, a lot of things to get done. We get lost in the vastness of daily tasks instead of admiring the vastness of life.

We sacrifice so much of who we are for others that at a certain point it feels as if hell is, indeed, formed of other people.

They are the source of our unhappiness. The boss who doesn’t appreciate you, the people who don’t respect you, the parents who don’t understand you, those who didn’t love you back.

We are interconnected, there’s no denying it, but other people aren’t hell…we just think we need them.

We treat others the way you’d treat an object. We want them…we want them to do something for us, to offer us something. We expect them to save us from ourselves. To give us love and attention and admiration and…

And we suffer.

Yes. We suffer. We feel hopeless at times. Why can’t they see that we’ve sacrificed so much for them?

But the truth is that others don’t have to do anything for you.

So, is there any way out of this labyrinth of suffering?

Yes, but you might not like the answer.

Be better.

Be better than all those who failed to see your worth. Love them anyway. Help them anyway.

Not because you want a reward from it, but because you are that kind of person.

What you do for others ultimately determines your legacy. What lives on long after your bones have turned to dust.

Be better than them, because no one said you can’t be.

It might seem as an almost impossible task, especially if you’ve been hurt and disappointed in your life, but, trust me, it’s worth it.

When I first started writing…I dreamed of fame and glory and awards and money and all the other crazy stuff teenagers dream about. I wanted to be a kind of rock star of the written word.

But then, as years passed and no one read my stuff, I just wrote for one person. Just one… There’s not much fame or glory in that, right? And since I wasn’t getting paid, no money at all. But I saw that my words made that person smile. And think. And wonder about life and love and everything in between.

So I wrote even more.

I wasn’t expecting anything from it. And, believe me, my life was far from perfect. Twenty something, broke, lots of health issues. No friends…

I felt depressed. Alone. Angry sometimes.

But I was making one person smile.

We so often underestimate this, right? Making one person smile…

We want to conquer the world, to reach the top of the mountain, to write the greatest novel ever written, to touch people’s hearts.

What we fail to understand sometimes is that we reach the top of the mountain one step at a time, we write that novel just one word at a time, we touch people’s lives one smile at a time.

And this is how you conquer the world.

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12 thoughts on “Of Life and Death

  1. Very inspiring.

    I believe that we must know ourselves first, love ourselves first, before we can understand how to treat others. We can not demand from others anything as no one owes us anything.

    I agree with you that we should do things because we want to and not because we need or have to because there is a reward at the end. It is one of my issues with the way many of us see religion: “I am good because I must be so I go to heaven.” is the most common one and can be translated to any religion out there. Instead, I believe we should just treat everyone with respect because it is the right thing to do and not because of the reward at the end of the road.

    We need to help not because there is a payment for it.

    And also about the step by step part. I think we got spoiled with instant things such as the click of a button purchase. Good things can take a while and while we all have dreams, we can not blame others when our dreams fail simply because they are ours and no one can destroy our dreams and hopes but ourselves.

    /thumbs up

  2. Your resonate deep inside, and seem to echo the words of Christ who said to love others, even when they hate you – for even the wicked will love those who love them, but it is much harder to love those who hate you.

    People who believe we do these things simply to buy a ticket to heaven (as suggested in a comment above) miss the point – that living in peace with others, doing the right thing even when it’s hard, brings us inner peace. And that’s what you’ve described in your post.

    A very thought-provoking read, thank you!

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