Aspire to Inspire
By Mazuba Mwiinga
Intention 4: Understand Life Backwards
“It is only through suffering that we can hope to come to self knowledge.” - Mary Craig
When I was growing up, I came to learn one adage that never left my mind till now. It says, “Don’t look back in anger, nor forward in fear but at present with awareness”. This proverb has been one of my life checking barometers in most time when things would be going the other way, and not my way. Present time means everything to anyone because it’s ‘the now’. Yesterday was but just a day we know what happened, and tomorrow is but a day we don’t know what it has. But today is our day, because we are living it. What we do now, counts how we will live tomorrow and how we will be remembered on our yesterday. But if we have to shape our tomorrow in the way we want it to be, we need to evaluate our yesterday so that we live our today according to what we want to experience in our tomorrow.
That’s why life can only be lived forwards, but understood backwards. This is a profound phenomenon that dates back to ancient times. We read some of these explanations in the bible where people did this and that according to the Law of Moses. And what they did was true and right in the eyes of God because it had to be that way. The law conformed to their lives. But when Christ Jesus came, a new chapter in humanity’s life opened. He says, ‘I did not come to change the law but to fulfil it’. His mission was to let people ‘Love God with all their hearts and souls and to love one another as they love themselves’. In doing this he renewed what was old by relating it to what was new.
When a woman who was accused of adultery was brought before him, Jesus asked all the men who were there to be the first to throw stones at her if they were so innocent of such sins too. And to my amusement, one by one they left her alone. Their actions of attempting to stone her were justified according to the Law of Moses, because they were ‘hard hearted’ as Moses called them, such that he was able to allow them to mate punishments of such nature. But Jesus brought a message of repentance and reconciliation among people. This could only be understood by explaining to them why Moses had allowed them to do certain things then, for them to be able to accept to live a fresh and new life he brought them. By understanding the past, we are able to accept the present and be ready for the future.
Whatever happened in the past of our personal lives needs to be understood that it was meant to happen because it had to happen. And it was meant to empower us with a message. So often when we experience fatality, we give excuses of witchcraft, being unlucky and so on and so forth. May be its true, may be its not; but what I know is that everything that happens to us happens not as a matter of chance, but because it was meant to happen. Mostly such occurrences come to us as messages. The only difference between those who learn and those who lose is simply the kind of message they take from their experiences.
Profound people; those who never bow down to failure and defeat; those whose resolve is to keep the fire burning no matter how fierce the wind is; these great people who learn from the message, no matter what happens to them, they remain in love with life. They never give up on themselves nor do they sit back and become cry babies, but they strive against all odds and reach their destiny. They learn from the circumstances and pick up the pieces again and mend them. From the scares that remain after the wounds are healed, come memories of where they were. They are able to look back in amusement and see how foolish they were then and be grateful that they had to pass through all that.
But often times today, we see some of us blanketed in a shell of indecision when misfortune befalls us. We curse ourselves and those we suspect to have been behind the acts. We become myopic minded such that we are unable to realise that in fact the occurrence is a wakeup call to us, to check ourselves up. But the great people understand that the price of wisdom and insight is pain. And that the pleasure of insight and wisdom makes any price worth paying. As Mary Craig says that, “It is only through suffering that we can hope to come to self knowledge”. But the losers in this instance waste the opportunity of growing into compassion without realising that we cannot run away from our battles without losing ourselves in the process.
When crisis strikes us, we need to ask ourselves, “What message does God want me to learn from this?” It’s from our understanding of this message that we will be able to find peace within ourselves and grow. It’s from such an experience that we will be able to find inspiration from those who went through such before us, and be able to learn and aspire to be like them tomorrow when the storm is over. And when we learn we start intending to aspire to inspire others who will come after us in similar dilemmas, because that’s what life was meant to be; to have our sorrows shared and our happiness celebrated together. And there is nothing more important than inner joy and freedom to give us abundance in life.