Putting “troubles” in proper perspective . . .

All who travel this pilgrim highway of life will inevitably encounter what “old folks” always referred to as “troubles.”

“Soon I will be done’a with the troubles of this world…” is but one of many old familiar Negro spirituals sung during the early plantation days, that can still be occasionally heard although the old reference is more recently referred to as “tests.” However. “troubles” by any other name are still most effectively dealt with through perspective.

In addressing student audiences in particular through the years, I would always leave them with the thought: “Just remember that nothing can ever be as important as your attitude toward it.” That is the chastening rod that can make or break you.

I must admit there have been many experiences throughout my extensive life span that I have had to hold fast to that perspective which continues to become more challenging with aging. However all things in nature move in cycles and progress only to a certain point before reversing the process. Therefore the natural cycle of man goes from childhood to childhood–if not plucked in its prime.

I have frequently shared the incident when I made the comment to my daughter (before age 50) that “My fondest wish is to grow old gracefully;” to which her instant response was: “You done did it, ain’t you?

However, if we truly wish to view life in proper perspective we must “Be fair in our judgment (of self as well as of others) and guarded in our speech.” The blame game will change nothing nor will it help anything, as “prevention is always a lot cheaper than cure. It is also uncommonly clear that individuals seldom administer justice, more commonly administered through a group of individuals (i.e./a jury as opposed to a judge.) But here again enters the question, “which is more desirable?” A victim would more likely seek justice whereas a perpetrator would be more prone to seek mercy, even ‘though the damage may be self-inflicted.

Keep remembering, “Be fair in thy judgment and guarded in thy speech,” as recorded in the Baha’i Holy Writings of today’s New Era. “Be fair to yourself and to others that the evidences of justice may be revealed through your deeds”–which always trump words.

One verse of the immortal literary masterpiece, “Sermons That We See,” ends with: “…For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give, but there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.”

To be fair, one is not influenced in decision making by one’s own likes and dislikes, by what we want or do not want; by envy, jealousy, etc. It entails instead having no regard for one’s own personal interests, benefit and/or selfish advantages, but prioritizing instead the welfare of the common good. The just man or woman gathers all available facts and background information possible and strictly avoids hearsay evidence that is most often untrustworthy. The fair person also weighs all the information thoroughly, carefully and without prejudice and does not make impulsive decisions or extreme judgments.

“Whoso cleaveth to justice can, under no circumstances, transgress the limits of moderation;” (not to be confused with mediocre) but by perfecting each aspect instead to the highest degree–at which point they moderate themselves!

Therefore, welcome “troubles” (by whatever name) to some extent, for a skilled mariner is never made upon a calm sea.