against the wall
When our backs are against the wall, our moral fibre is tested. We can act like monsters, fly in to a self-defensive rage, or we can step back, see the wider picture, respond with equanimity.
OK, I’m not being bombed in The Yemen nor eaten by maggots in who knows where, although more than once I’ve been surrounded by the immanent danger of armed men who kill with ease. Compared to most people in ‘The Comfy West’, our existence has not been easy, though neither of us is being gnawed at by uncaring authorities which is the case for certain minority groups in some supposedly democratic countries.
They say the 5 most stressful things are, (if none of the above afflict you): moving house; financial problems; ill health; a deceased relative; divorce. That’s when you are tested.
We’ve born three of the above, plus a builder who’s gone wonky, ruining every task, abandoning us in a mess, stealing our money. And all this happened during a highly stressful coronavirus lockdown. Furthermore, I started this process not well and we’ve had to work every day, bar three, for 14 weeks to ensure we had a liveable building to move to by July 7th. This spun me to hospital, I’m under consultant care to prevent me going blind (at any moment) due to complications in the physical structure of the brain brought on by compounding historical health problems stirred up by all of the above.
Quite a lot to suffer over four months. No wonder we are both exhausted, mentally, emotionally, physically and pushed to our spiritual limits. But unlike our builder, who got in a muddle and flunked the moral test, we don’t feel angry, we feel compassion towards him, though, being on small pensions it’d be nice to have our hard saved money back.
We feel stable and clear. It is having the presence of mind to step aside from the enormity of our problems which enables us to bob through these devastating waves and find the positives without allowing bitterness or self-pity to determine our outlook. Yes, it is bad, but wallowing in the bad sours the mind, ruining the experience of this extraordinary thing we take for granted - life as it happens right now.