When things do not go the way we want or when we encounter mishaps or suffer losses, we often get exasperated and howl, “Why me? Why should I suffer? Why do I undergo this trauma?”
It is common for us to lament and wonder why unfortunate things happen to us. But do we count our blessings? It is a question we need to ask ourselves. At least for a moment do we think or remind ourselves of all the nice things we possess? For example, when there are so many children who go to sleep hungry we have the privilege of eating a sumptuous meal. We have access to clean drinking water when there are people who walk several kilometres to get water. There are scores of individuals who are forced to sleep on park benches or on the pavement when we stay cozy in the comfort of our homes. However, we do not even think about these privileges we enjoy. Someone once said “… many of us count our blessings on our fingers and toes, but count our trials with a calculator....” It may sound exaggerated but if we critically analyse it, it is clear that we are more bothered about mishaps than the good things that happen to us.
If only we make an attempt to observe people around us we may realise that there are many who have had terrible experiences yet lead their life with grit and determination. A colleague of mine underwent surgery to remove a cancer tumour at the age of 60 and now at 65 she still continues to work. Another lady lost her husband in a road accident just two months after her marriage, but she took it in her stride.
There are several others who lead a life clogged with financial problems, health issues and strained relationships, but they know that if they allow these things to interfere in their daily routine they will not be able to do anything. They would only be lamenting “Why me?” and “Why me only?” But they do not take that path. They realise that it is up to them to make the choice – to suffer bewailing or take it up as a challenge, find reasons for the problems and solve them if possible. They consider these trials learning experiences. Their strength has always astounded me. They have let these experiences teach them life, strengthen their will, shape their personality and help increase their endurance.
Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player, contracted AIDS from infected blood he received during a surgery. His fans felt sorry for him and wondered why he should suffer and die.
In response to their query Ashe responded, ‘The world over, 50,000,000 children start playing tennis, 5,000,000 learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5,000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach the Wimbledon, four the semifinals and two play in the finals. When I was the one holding the cup, I never asked “Why me?”
I mentioned Ashe’s anecdote to my friend who was cribbing about his life and explained that like Ashe there are several people from all walks of life who never ask “Why me?” but try their best to get over their problems. He surprised me with his response. He said it may be because they probably know that they will not get any answer, or they believe that there is no answer.
I was then reminded of what Charles M Schulz said, “Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask why me? Then a voice answers, ‘nothing personal, your name just happened to come up’.”