i am thinking lately of acceptance and change and the interaction between them. so often we humans have a preconceived notion of how things ought to be. we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration when things don't live up to our preconceived ideals. i think of how a friend's marriage fell apart because his wife had an idealized conception of marriage. she believed that their relationship ought to be like what she had seen in movies and read in romance novels that were far removed from the realities of life's daily give and take. when their marriage wasn't fairy-tale perfect, she was filled with anger and disappointment and began an affair with another man, bringing their marriage to an end. she went on to marry what she believed would be her perfect mate, and now they, too, are divorced, because of her unrealistic expectations.
life is seldom as we wish it to be. reality intrudes on our image of how things "ought to be." a child gets sick, and our plans for the day go out the window. the car won't start, and our schedule is shot. one phone call turns our day topsy-turvy. our candidate loses the election, and we believe we are doomed. change is the one constant in life. i am not the same person i was a moment ago. a moment from now i will be another person, and yet i am still me. circumstances change and i react to them.
does this mean i shouldn't make plans? life would be chaos without some thought for what i must do to give life order and to accomplish what needs to be done. but i must hold those plans loosely and not feel as if disaster has set in when life interferes. if i insist on following my plan rigidly, the outcomes are anger, frustration, and disappointment, and i injure those around me. life is not my plan for the day--life is change.
must i, in the name of acceptance, put up with the wrongs of the world? do i just say, "oh, well, donald trump won, and i have to accept his ideas about how our country and the world should function"? must i abandon accomplishing what i had planned for the day because some emergency has intruded? acceptance of how things are and acknowledging that change is inevitable doesn't mean tolerating that which we believe to be wrong or giving up on our plans and dreams. acceptance of how things are and acceptance of change means that we accept the flow of life and adapt to the bumps and hurdles that are inevitable.
we live in an imperfect world and are ourselves imperfect creatures. sometimes the vagaries of life that interfere with our "perfect day" are serendipities that stop us from making mistakes or lead us to an epiphany that would not have occurred otherwise. the lemons of life that mysteriously become lemonade remind us that, while change is not always beneficial, it is the stuff of life. railing against change is futile; working to bring it about is our mission, if we accept that there is no straight course to the changes we seek.
may we live lives of acceptance of impermanence. may we understand that what is will not be in the next moment. may we embrace the flow of life, sometimes allowing it to carry us along, and sometimes swimming strongly in its current. may we work to change that which needs to be changed while accepting the reality of the present moment. shalom.