"Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know." -- Pema Chodron
I ran across this quotation in my reading this morning, and it really struck me -- perhaps because it ties in so beautifully with my last two posts. I was thinking of it more in the context of the trials and tribulations we carry around with us and complain about -- the bad back, the depression, the troublesome children or difficult marriage -- but then, when I went looking for an image this one just leaped off the page.
Of course! This tendency we have to demonize the banks for our economic crisis! So easy, to attack those ridiculously wealthy corporate CEO's. But at heart we ALL are realizing that on a variety of levels (and isn't this Lent kicking in) we, too, have been profligate spenders, not just of money, but of time and energy as well.
Not that this excuses us, but I've been thinking about where this behavior comes from, and I find myself wondering if it's not just the "me generation" thing, or the "if you've got it, flaunt it" thing, or the "if it feels good, do it" thing. Because what I remember about growing up is that money was always tight, economies were always practiced, string, and rubber bands, and saran wrap were always saved... and it seemed incredibly foolish to do that (to me) when we also lived under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, and then, later, of the seemingly endless war in Viet Nam.
I distinctly remember conversations with my first husband (we married in 1971), in which we agreed not to have children because there would be no world for them to inherit. Again, I'm not saying this excuses us. But I also remember being in high school when the Time Magazine cover read "Is God Dead?" I think, as a generation, we lost hope. And if there was no future to speak of, why save for it -- it might be that all we have is now.
So how appropriate, that we now have a president who is younger than we are, who campaigned on a platform based on hope, whose acts since taking office consistently throw off the old separatist ways of doing things and stress the importance of working together and supporting one another. The pendulum is swinging back now, I think, and though our children will have to struggle, I like to believe it will be a different kind of struggle, informed by some of the foolish mistakes their parents made.
But I digress. My question for you today is this: what bugs you the most? What is driving you crazy? Okay. Now think long and hard about this one. What does it have to teach you? Because, like this economic crisis, the challenges we face are just not going away until we learn what we need to learn from them.