Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

Welcome to the Extermination Ovens; Have a Nice Day


Could anyone who was marched into the gas ovens during WWII have previously been envisioning having a good day?  How about a slave of a sadistic owner?  Or the victims of carnage in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, or the Middle East?  My forehead wrinkles when someone tells me that all I have to do is to envision a beautiful world and it’s mine.  Imagining a good day doesn’t necessarily make it happen.  We are sometimes waylaid by the hatred, ignorance, fear, greed, or sickness of others.  When Anita Moorjani contends that our life here on Earth may be Heaven, lots of victims would disagree.  We’re stuck in a world lots of people helped—and are helping—to create.  Not all of those people were or are working for the greater good.

It’s true that we are most often our worst enemies if we aren’t our best friends.  We can sabotage ourselves without realizing we’ve done it.  But now and then we truly are victims of someone else.  We’re part of a greater tapestry of living in which we aren’t necessarily the main character.  Now and then, we must suffer—theoretically, for the benefit of someone else.  Perhaps, the lesson to be learned is SO BIG that we’re only pawns in the play.  Like a lonely woman who repeatedly involves herself with abusers, perhaps we’re part of a human problem that keeps presenting itself because it has yet to be solved.  I like to think suffering can have meaning.  A stubborn refusal to surrender, to be less than what we want ourselves to be, is the magic tonic that saves our souls.

Viktor Frankl, a professor who was a survivor of the Holocaust, wrote the following:  “Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which would determine whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstances, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”

We may not live in death camps, but we have the same decision to make.  Even when we can’t envision ourselves out of difficult circumstances, we can certainly control how we react to those circumstances.  We can remember that we’re more than a body.  Once you’re in a terrible situation—even a natural disaster, you can ask yourself what strengths you possess that you can use to make it through the pit.  You have control of your own mind.  Don’t beat yourself up for being in the dilemma, for not envisioning yourself into a more loving society.  Congratulate yourself on having the power to prevail.  You may be an essential part of the change to come.

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