Thursday, January 20, 2011


What is the common factor in everything that we do?  It’s us.  And there lies the key to starting the right combination to effect what we want.  We have us in our hands.

 I’ve heard from different people that life is difficult.  I’ve also heard that life is simple.  And sometimes I wonder: how can these two statements be true at the same time? 
     A few days ago, I remembered one of the sayings I learned some years back and which I still find very wise.  It says: Success is when Opportunity meets Readiness.  For some reason, the first line of a Barry Manilow song also popped into my head: We had the right love at the wrong time.  What followed in my mind was a most valuable teaching I learned in school: Faith that does Justice.
      Then, I realized that maybe that’s why life is difficult: everything, especially the good ones, can only be accomplished with the right combinations.  One can’t be successful if the disposition to achieve and the chance to do it in will not occur at the same time.  Someone can be so in love but the circumstances may not be right.  And even personal conviction cannot be enough without the right actions.  Nothing seems possible to happen with just one factor making it so.  There has to be an intersection of several things, an agreement among various parts to bring about a specific whole into fruition.  It may even be a conspiracy as Paulo Coelho put it so poetically and exactly in the book “The Alchemist.”  Life is difficult because we can’t control everything all at once, even if we wanted to.  There are just some things that are beyond our hold.

         But while I know that life can be difficult, I also believe it is simple.  And here is where I will apologize because I will quote something from the book I wrote (which has the same title as this blog): Just do what you can.  Give it your best.  Then at the end of each day, leave space for grace. 

         Life is simple in the sense that we only have to be in charge of ourselves and nothing else.   Because that’s where everything can start for us, somewhere that’s within our reach.  We may not have control over opportunities that come our way, but we can do something with our readiness.  It may be the wrong time, but we can always love right.  And justice will involve other much more complicated things but our faith is ours and ours alone.  And so on, many other combinations may be needed to do things.  But as long as we hold ourselves to doing what we can and giving our best and we have the humility to bow nicely to how the other factors are working or being worked out by grace, by God, by the universe or whatever term it may be, life can be simple, too.

     The right combinations of several factors may indeed be needed to bring about results.  The combinations or the results may not be soon or easy, but at least, we are a part of them and we have a say in them.  In life’s difficulty and in life’s simplicity, we have the crucial share. 

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