Friday, June 12, 2009

Love, Forgiveness, and Happiness

It's been an interesting 2 weeks, coming back home and heading back to the office. Suddenly, the life that we left behind seems like a distant memory fading fast away.

For me, at least.

For little D, little phrases he utters betray what's inside his heart:

"Daddy... in Australia" followed quickly by "Dylan... Australia!"

"Go Airport!"

"Fun... Gymbaroo Today?"

Thankfully, he's also adapting well under the gramps' care, and I'm told that he's very well-behaved at home when I'm at work. What gives the game away though is when this mommy comes home and tries to settle him down at bedtime.

The episodic night terrors that render our wee 'un in a screaming and kicking fit at 2am has been regularly repeating itself - and he won't be pacified until at length, after wearing himself out, I lie down next to him in his bed. By which time, we're both exhausted.

His pillow's soaked in tears, and over the weekend in nose-blood. And on one night, so was mine. Tears of utter frustration.

The thing about going through major transitions in life, I suppose, is how it is meant to make us all stronger and more resilient. I've been wondering about how this is so in my case in dealing with a child who - though seems well-adjusted on the outside - has to learn that he remains loved and secure in spite of the vicissitudes of many destabilizing events in recent days:

i) Daddy not being around much now, except during the hols (yay he's back tomorrow!)
ii) Mommy's sudden extended absences (from 7.30am to 7pm), after spending every hour of every day by his side for the last 11 months
iii) Being in a hot and humid climate, stuck indoors most of the time
iv) Not having playgroup, swimming and Gymbaroo to keep his days occupied
v) Watching that bump in Mommy's tummy grow, and being repeatedly told that he will soon be joined by another baby.

Will he learn to forgive us for putting him through all this?

And for me, can I forgive him for the grief he's putting me through? Of course the poor dear doesn't know any better, but when he's older will I forget and not bring to his attention how difficult he once was?

I've decided that there is no merit in keeping our grievances, real or imagined, undealt with. And the only way to deal with it is to let it go and to forgive freely. But often, this takes supernatural grace.

Which is timely given that just last Sunday, the sermon from the BFEC pulpit was on this very topic - "Spurring One Another On With Love: Forgiveness".

I loved the 2 analogies the speaker used to talk about the idea of forgiving. He said when we do not forgive it's like taking poison and wishing our enemy will die, but we end up being the one poisoned.

And he said when we do forgive, it's like setting the prisoner free, only to discover that the prisoner is ourselves.


On a separate, but related note, I read this evening about happiness, and what makes a good life good based on completely empirically gathered data.

A longitudinal 72-year-long study of the lives of randomly selected boys attempted to mine the factors behind what caused some men to lead happy, long lives, and others end up dead and in the days leading up to that, miserable.

And the results are not as straightforward as one might imagine. Sure the usual factors tend to predict a more successful life: faith, marriage, regular exercise and avoiding obesity, avoiding smoking and alcohol.

But the twisted lives of many who started out promising and who come from secure social backgrounds show that life isn't so linear. Worth a read if you can spare about 20 minutes:

What Makes Us Happy? - The Atlantic
(June 2009)

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