Dale Carnegie recalls seeing this on an old cathedral in Amsterdam: “It is so. It cannot be otherwise.”
How often do you find yourself resisting reality?
How often do you find yourself denying a painful truth because you just can’t deal with it?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could imagine a different reality and make it come true?
Well, you can’t.
Reality is reality. However, you do have the power to decide what you’ll think about it, don’t you?
Don’t Fight What Is
One of the principle of Jujitsu masters is: “Bend like the willow; don’t resist like the oak.”
A few years ago, tornadoes swept through North Georgia. Building that were constructed to be solid as rock were instantly transformed into a twisted, torn, and tossed pile of trash.
But the trees that survived the storm were the ones that bent over backwards without breaking in half.
This is good advice for us. Life can be tough sometimes. It’s better if we can roll with the changes than to try to resist the tide of change.
I remember visiting the beach as a child. One of my favorite activities was to stand in the ocean and let the waves crash against me. The smaller waves would just slap me with water and leave me standing firm. As they got bigger, the splash felt more like getting hit by a truck. As the tide come in with it fullest fury, the waves would knock me down, fill my shorts with sand, and leave me on the ground, spitting out the gritty, salty mess in my mouth.
Contrast with riding the waves. When I did that, I could have the thrill ride of my life. The waves, while rough at times, would move me to safety. And I wouldn’t suffer the pain of letting the waves break against my body.
So don’t fight the inevitable. Choose to bend instead of breaking.
There’s Really Not Another Good Choice
What is, is.
You really have just two things to consider when you’re faced with the inevitable.
1. Can you do something to improve your situation?
2. If there’s nothing you can do, can you find the good in your situation?
Renee spent half her life dealing with cancer.
She lived as though she had her whole life ahead of her. She went to school, got a job, and served the people of her church who didn’t have anybody else.
Then the inevitable hit her like a ton of bricks.
The cancer had returned – with a vengeance.
Renee couldn’t change what was.
So she decided to focus on what she still had instead of what she didn’t.
As long as she could drive, she visited shut-ins. When she couldn’t do that, she called them. When she couldn’t speak any more, she wrote letters. When she couldn’t do that, she prayed for them.
At her funeral service one Wednesday morning, the church was filled with 300 loving friends with teary eyes.
Accept what is. If you can make it better, do it. If you can’t, find the good in it.
It’s the Only Way to Find Peace
You’ve probably heard the famous Serenity Prayer.
Here’s the whole text:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
If you’ll resolve not to fight reality, you’ll find peace.
If you can do something to improve your situation, do it. If you can’t, find what’s good in it.
Once you do these things, you’re free. You’ll feel the shackles of worry that hung heavy on you fade away as the days and hours pass. Then peace will cover your soul like a blanket.
That’s the secret of effectively cooperating with the inevitable.
How do you cope with the things you can’t change? How would your life be different if you could cooperate with the inevitable?