(published in The Speaking Tree, The Times of India – Jan 11, 2014)
Imagine a story without conflict. Would it even be called a story? Every successful novel or drama has to have conflict in order to be interesting. Imagine a novel about a mundane ordinary existence, a tale of only happiness, of only love and bliss, a tale of only light and no darkness. Would it be interesting? Would anybody want to read it? What if the hero of an epic would be able to get whatever he wanted without an iota of challenge? It would indeed be a boring exercise to read such a tale.
So if we like challenges and conflicts in our fiction, why do we shy away from challenges, hardships and problems in our own lives? Why is it that when we are faced with tragedy, betrayal, loneliness or sorrow in life we ask ‘Why me?’ Our lives a drama in the theatre of the Divine; perhaps we have been created for His merriment and pleasure! We are immortal souls that have voyaged to this Earth plane to experience what we call life. And if that be the case, how can we learn and grow as souls without getting rattled by problems in life?
If there were only light in this world and no darkness, an image would never form. There can be no creation without the duality of good and evil, pain and pleasure, laughter and tears, light and darkness, prosperity and poverty and so on. If we, as lovers of creativity, literature, drama and art, can marvel at the contrasts between various shades of light and darkness, we ought not to be so reluctant to accept bad times in our own lives. Let’s not feel wronged, abandoned and deserted by God in times of trouble.
When there is a storm, we know that even after the darkest of storms, the sun will come. Why is it then that we doubt God’s will in our own lives? There is no need to feel doomed after a bout of darkness for this is actually the time when our faith, patience and perseverance are tested. We can only learn lessons from these times. Generally, we only surrender to God in such times of perceived hopelessness. These events in our lives are reminders that we are not alone. We have never been alone and will never be alone. A grand celestial audience is watching our drama on planet Earth!
Our lives are a living story; a story that was written by us along with our Creator in order to experience different feelings, learn different lessons and dream different dreams. Like all dramas, our lives also need their share of conflict that we, as spiritual protagonists, must overcome challenges to achieve our goals. We must never lose our faith in the Divine Director of this Earth Drama, who will ensure that things will go as planned. Things will not always be easy; but no one says that life is meant to be easy. We have to work hard to earn the Divine Oscar for our efforts on Earth.
As William Shakespeare says in ‘As You Like It’, “All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players: /They have their exits and their entrances.”
So when tragedy strikes or hardships come – whether in relationships, career, health or anything else remember that the greatest of heroes are not those who didn’t face conflicts (for all heroes have), but those who overcame them.
When we overcome and leave this Earthly stage, we can have comfort in the promise of Christ in Revelation 3:12 “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.”