“Good Times, Bad Times, you know I’ve had my share;” PAGE JAMES PATRICK, PLANT R A, BONHAM JOHN, BALDWIN JOHN
I am over fifty years old and if I get the three score and ten promised in the Bible I have seen more then is yet to come. What do you see when you look back at life?
I was watching a documentary on an Indiana penitentiary. They interviewed a man who killed two elderly women when he was thirteen. At age fifteen he was sentenced to one hundred and fifty years time in jail. Realistically he has no chance for ever being freed. The prisoner contemplated over the things he missed in life, driving a car, filling out tax forms, going to the prom, all things he would never experience. The interviewer examined some books the prisoner had on his shelf. All during the interview, the convict was smiling in a jovial mood. He was for the moment enjoying life.
That is, of course, one extreme. Our life fluctuates between good times, bad times and somewhere in the middle. Even for those on the edge, there are ups and downs. Look at a person who is crippled for example. Just because they have physical impediments does not mean that they cannot experience joy or sorrows. Everything is relative.
The bad times in life are far from a waste or even unnecessary. In fact, suffering is a teacher if we allow ourselves to learn the lessons. There is the story of Joseph in the Bible, who was sold into slavery and then on a lie was thrown into prison. I could imagine he spent many long hours soul searching why when he did no wrong that he suffered so greatly. The answer, of course, was that God was preparing Joseph for something great. He needed the hard lessons of life to rule over Egypt.
Personally, mental illness has been a teacher to me. I have learned gentleness, compassion, and humility. My wife’s dementia also has enriched my life in many ways. Would I have avoided these things if I had the choice? Without a doubt, I wouldn’t have wished my woes on my worst enemy. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be the man I am without these lessons.
I have to laugh at a previous boss of mine. He was a greedy, selfish, inconsiderate person to the maximum. For about a week he suffered from a severe case of poison ivy. I have personally suffered at least twice from the same ailment. Once in school, I went into the woods to fetch a foul ball. My whole face became inflamed with poison ivy. It was so bad that I missed an entire week of school. Anyway, my boss told me that the poison ivy was the worst thing that had ever happened in his life. I have known people physically and sexually abused in life. I have heard horror stories of serving in the military and this joker whines about his light affliction. But when you scrutinized what he was by how he acted one could see that there was no substance there.
But not all times are bad there are the good times. Good times are sometimes hard to recognize. But later on in life with reflection, they become readily apparent. In my troubled youth, not everything was dark. There were many memories that I can look back on and cherish. I had friends who were genuine and caring and that is precious. If you asked me if my formative years were happy I would definitely say no and with good reason. But it wasn’t some consistent darkness.
The proof of life is in the living. Not only do I have joy in my life but I am a very happy person. My life is by no means easy or trouble-free. My wife as I mentioned has dementia. As such I cannot work because she needs constant care. Therefore there are financial pressures tormenting my mind. In my life, I have learned to weather the storm and to appreciate what you have. One blessing from staying constantly at home is that I can pursue my dream of writing. Who knows maybe from something terrible something great can happen, I can only hope.
And hope therein is the key. If you think that something good is going to happen eventually it gives you the tenacity to hang on. From one who is intimate with the mentally ill community I have seen the hopelessness they possess. I have known people who have committed suicide because of their dark depressing circumstances. Good times are coming and so are bad times, that is life. It is like the waves on the ocean there will be peaks and lows, the trick is how you navigate them.
Please check out my book called “The Lost Cantos Of John Kaniecki.” It is written in rhyme and rhythm with a positive message. https://amzn.to/2NhUPbs
Photos by .FuturePresent.,