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Just a thought on Surprises

I’ve come to realise that life is far from a linear journey and that life is sooner or later invaded by unwelcome visitors! Surprises, crises, disappointments, tragedies that we didn’t see coming.

Just when you think everything is fine, out of the blue, comes a curveball from nowhere. Completely unexpected!

On a global scale – natural disasters, social and political upheaval, terrorist attacks, an erupting volcano or a tiny virus! Or on a personal level – a
redundancy, a broken relationship, a cancer diagnosis or sudden death.

How do you cope? Blame God? Blame others? Become a victim?

My observation is that no matter what the curveball, I have been inspired by those who have been on a further journey through unimaginable pain, suffering, failure or loss and have allowed it to transform them.

What are the qualities of people who have successfully negotiated this further journey?

You can recognise such people. They are outward-focused, self-giving, not guarded or self-protective, always looking for ways to give themselves away. They have increased empathy and sympathy because they know deep inside how much it hurts to hurt.

It was Carl Jung who first popularised the phrase “the two halves of life” to describe the two major tasks of any human life. The first half of life is spent building our sense of identity, importance, and security but, often through suffering, failure or a significant loss, you can discover a door
into the second half of life with real purpose and identity at a much deeper level. His own experience was through illness and pain he said “to experience defeat was also to experience victory.”

Christianity is the only religion that has a very strange counter-intuitive image of God – a naked, bleeding, dying man. Not rational or attractive. He is the image of the invisible God, who participates in the pain of the world and who through his own suffering brought meaning to our suffering not only through his life but ultimately through his death and resurrection, which is why we celebrate Easter, the ultimate defeat transformed into the ultimate victory!

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