Sunday, 30 November 2014
At ease in my own skin
When the time finally arrives that you can be at ease in your own skin after a major trauma (illness, bereavement, shock of some kind) you may well not be happy.
I think the definition of happiness varies from person to person but one thing on which most people agree is that it is not a permanent state.
It is, rather, a brief fleeting sensation of pure joy, with no caveats.
Those of us lucky enough to have experienced this feeling will not only accept that it can be only a temporary one, but also feel glad that it is not a permanent condition. To be filled with overwhelming joy every day of one's life would surely lead to some kind of insanity.
Human beings are capable of sustaining great calmness in the face of sudden emergencies, great courage in the face of threat or danger, but perhaps not quite so well able to cope with the magnitude of sheer joy.
To be content with one's lot is a major achievement and often one we struggle to attain, but once reached is a wonderfully sound foundation on which to base a life.
Not to be dependent on another human being for our happiness, but to work at creating it for ourselves is a huge step on the way to true content.
I have written before (many times) on the subject of loneliness with its attendant lowering of spirits
but that is not to say that you cannot find a level within your own being which will allow you to be alone and content.
Some months (about 10 or 11), after the death of my husband I had some counselling from a lovely wise caring priest who was able to make me understand that the key to content lay in seeing life from the perspective of others, some in a similar situation, but all with experience of the sudden gulf which separates us from our fellows after a bereavement.
Until then i had been sunk into a state of gloom and loneliness which I had convinced myself was to be my state for the remainder of my life.
At first resenting the fact that I was being expected to take part in ordinary life, it gradually became clear that the only way forward was in doing just that. Not to cut myself of from people, not to close my ears to other people's problems but by becoming involved in listening to the woes and problems of those around me to gradually find a role where being of use to someone, even in a very small way
was richly rewarding, and, on the rare occasions when it was possible to really brighten someone else's day, capable of producing real joy.
When finally involvement in some capacity with someone with problems produces a feeling of strength and sometimes even the ability to offer a solution, becomes the daily norm then you can rest easy in your own company.
I have gone from despair through experiment, disappointment, small feeling of pleasure to complete and absolute happiness, however brief and a feeling that, with God;s help and a favouring wind i can cope with whatever life throws at me and sometimes even enjoy it.
Bless you Jean and forgive my theft.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 12:39:00 pm