CHENNAI: Some people go through life, looking at the dark side of what happens. Others have learnt to look at the brighter side of life, finding good in all situations where others might see only disappointment and sadness.
It is difficult to find hope when we are disappointed. Many things happen in life that can send us into the doldrums and depths of despair. Large numbers of people suffer from depression because life has brought them disappointment.
Many of them have turned to artificial means such as alcohol, drugs, or other addictions to relieve their depression. Is there any way to find good when things do not happen in the way we want?
There is a story that may point to a solution for how to deal with life when things do not go our way. A man went into an undeveloped part of his country to look for gold. News had spread that people were finding gold in one of the mountain ranges. It was not easy digging for gold because there were no towns built nearby. It required climbing steep mountains with specialised equipment. One had to camp out in the cold found at the high mountain altitude.
This meant bringing enough food, water, and equipment to protect one’s self from the weather conditions. The thought of striking it rich by finding gold outweighed the risks for this man, so he undertook the exploration. While searching for the gold, the weather turned bad when a cold wave blew in, bringing with it bitter cold. The nights were even more frigid in the mountains. He shivered every night as he huddled around the fire he made to keep warm. He spent many months, trudging through ice and snow, searching for the gold.
Finally, winter ended and the warmth of spring came. He had used up his food and was down to one last meal. As he dug into the thawed ground, his pick hit something solid. He dug further into the ground to find a hard object. At first he thought he had finally found gold. As he cleared the dirt away from the object, he discovered that there was no gold. Instead, he pulled out a metal box.
Most people at this point would have wanted the object to be gold nuggets and would have been sorely disappointed if they were not. When he opened the box, he found packets of food left by a soldier from the army who must have been on a mission many years ago.
Instead of being disappointed that it was not gold, the man raised his eyes to the heavens and said, “Thank God, it is food and not gold. I am down to my last meal, and the Lord has blessed me with food to sustain me. If it were gold instead, I would have starved to death.”
This man had found the bright side of his situation. Most people would have complained that it was not the gold that they had worked hard to find. However, he surveyed his situation and realised that if he was destined to find something on that day, how blessed he was to have found food to keep him alive, rather than the inanimate object called gold which he could not eat. Of what use was that gold when he was starving to death and thousands of miles from civilization?
The man discovered something far more valuable than gold; he found how to look at the bright side of his situation. Little do we know why things are happening the way they are. We want to think there is a divine plan to our life. Unless we believe in something with a higher consciousness than we have, life can be bleak, dark, and meaningless. We feel hope when we understand that things are happening for the best. This points to the possibility that there is a higher power guiding what is happening to us and that our life is not haphazard and left to chance.
This incident brought faith to the man that someone or some power was looking out for him. By leading him to find food instead of gold at the point when he was starving helped him to realise there is a brighter side to life.
It takes a heart of strength and courage to withstand the disappointments, to wait and see how things turn out and for this we need to learn to trust in the higher power that is looking out for us and protecting us, the one who knows more than we do.