— All of us
We’re as familiar with this question as we are with our names. It’s a phenomenon of human nature to absolve oneself of all blemishes and throw our lamentations to the dome of the sky when things go south or when we trip on the perceptible taut cord of our own folly and meet the muck of the earth.
Believe me, I’ve asked this question to myself, the walls, the sky and my notebooks more times than I can number on my ten fingers and toes.
In the face of adversity, I cower sometimes, and I’m not too resilient. When adversity’s merciless eyes bore into me and its razor-sharp claws graze at the membrane of my strength, I’m often left on the verge of collapsing like a building without a strong foundation that has been bombarded by a hurricane.
That’s when I ask this rhetorical question. Well, it was rhetorical until wisdom gave me the right shovel to dig up the answer in the right place- within.
The sunbeam of understanding shone on me and permeated me. My question was answered with a question. The voice without a face (because it’s inside my head) asked me, “Why don’t you ask the same question when you’re in high spirits?”
Discomfiture coursed through my system along with blood because I drank from the cup of life with a tongue that chose to taste the mountain-top moments as sweet and the ones in the vale as bitter.
Like a swarm of fireflies, thoughts illumined the dark chamber of my mind with the sublime truth: I would never know to cherish happiness if I didn’t know sadness.
Those times when I thought I was being knocked down were actually the times I was being built up, though I never could perceive it.
The spirit of altruism was yet to penetrate me as I was still shackled by self-centeredness that is evident in the quote that serves as the opener to this passage. I was just being bent, being fine-tuned, and whetted against the stone. I wasn’t being broken, I wasn’t being pulverized. And, the most essential crux: it’s not just me.
So, next time you ask the question, know, understand and remember that while life is not a bed of roses, it’s not a bed of thorns either.