Life is what you make it. I can't even remember the first time I heard that phrase, but in the past it always carried a negative connotation with it. It was handed out like a justification for any unhappiness in life, without any compassion.
If only life was that simple.
I've come to realize the truth in that phrase. I know the choices we make in life, and how we view our choices in life, is what makes our life better or worse. But we are always confronted with the reality of others' choices who, obviously, may choose differently than us. That is where the real challenge comes. How do we maintain a good life when the choices of others directly or indirectly causes us pain?
It seems to me that most people are able to build a "shell", an outer wall, around themselves so that the pain and suffering of the world doesn't overwhelm them. They are able to recognize it, and sometimes do things to help others, but they don't become traumatized by every news report. Other people will dedicate their lives to helping others to cope. Yet others will become recluses, cutting off as much contact with the rest of humanity as possible.
Even at 42 years old, I still haven't found out how to effectively cope with the pain and suffering I see in the world. I work very hard at focusing on the blessings in my life, of which I know there are MANY. I am truly grateful. I do what I feel I can to make the world a better place. But not a day goes by when I am reminded that not everyone is as lucky as me. Not a day goes by without seeing the choices of others to be cold, cruel, unthinking, and worse, to their fellow humans. That is what I have a hard time reconciling.
"I think to myself, what a beautiful world," and then someone beeps their car horn and flips me off. I really do think it is such a beautiful world. There is so much beauty and joy to be had, and I wonder all the time, why can't they see it? Why are they choosing not to see it? Is that what happens when you close your eyes to the pain, you miss the beauty too?