Posts Tagged ‘Chinese proverb’

A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it. (Chinese Proverb) 

As I read an e-mail message with bad news that gives me chills, I wish I could be like the broadcaster who tells about a mass shooting and then shifts to a story about an adorable newborn zoo baby without missing a beat. Something incredibly ugly rises from the page as I follow each word; it haunts me.

Later I discover that the story wasn’t true. The truth is even worse because the lie had been designed to hurt and that hurt spread to the friend who sent me the message. However, her e-mail had asked for prayer—and I can’t rescind the positive thought I sent out into the universe. In fact, I wish I could have doubled it.

I don’t have permission to reveal either the lie or the truth, but any horrid example from the universal store of inequities would do. Besides, further reaction exacerbates the problem.

Sometimes when I hear the word outrage used to refer to a situation, personal or political, little warning signals flash inside my being. Anger can lead to action: an increased awareness, energy, gifts of money or time. But outrage triggers war. I’m-right-you-are-wrong yields more I’m-right-you-are-wrong, not a solution.

The multiple awful situations the world offers lose their power as I turn my attention toward the blessed places in my life. My youngest granddaughter’s speech is improving. She lives hope and love—it exudes from her like warmth from a furnace in Midwestern January. She has given her two older cousins sufficient example to affect their lives. They respect everyone. Down syndrome, autism, physical handicaps are superficial in their eyes. Kate and Rebe see deeper, into hearts.

The people who wreak havoc have hearts, too,—somewhere—often so injured even they can’t find them anymore. I wish I had answers for them, and for us who are surrounded by the damage they cause. I don’t know how to soften stone. But I know peace takes time. Peace may flow in my words, but I have to work toward it as hard as everyone else does when injustice affects the people I love.

The next message I read or hear could bring good news. There is always that very real possibility. Yesterday I listened to my two sons laugh and banter, as friends, allies. And I celebrated the moment. Today a little girl giggles as her grandmother leads her through the water at the Y. I feel the goodness of their moment through the waves.

Water, ego-less, shape-free, open to sea, pool, or sewer.

Peace and hope to all, wherever you may be.



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