“Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.”
I'm sure many of us can testify at having thrown a full-blown toddler temper tantrum when we haven't gotten our way. Don't lie, you know you've done it, too! Would we react the same way if we believed it's in our best interest?
My husband and I had gone to the hills for a short break. We had done a very thrilling horse ride there a few years before and loved it, so we asked where we could find the guys who rent the horses out. They said it's still early, but they could go to the village and bring them if we were willing to wait half an hour. We had just done a long trek, and since we're both impatient, we decided "nah, forget it". We were bummed about it, but decided to head back.
I did not know at the time, but I was pregnant with our first child. I am eternally grateful that the horses were not readily available that day. Fate works in mysterious ways.
There are some instances when things go so wrong, though, that there is no way to see how this is for the best. Senseless tragedies strike, and even I would be hard-pressed to say that it's for anyone's good. Perhaps it's not about our own good, exactly, but the good of all, or a chain of events that are simply meant to be. Whether you believe in fate or not, what I do know is that despair helps no one. Despair is not only condemned in Sufi thought, it is also one of the deadly sins in Christianity. Why the focus on "despair" in particular, to not even "enter the neighborhood" of it?
When we despair, we give up on everything. It starts with giving up on God, then giving up on others, and finally ourselves. The extreme act of despair is suicide, also an unforgivable sin (how ironic given the number of "religious" suicide bombers who have inflicted themselves on the world).
If you want to see what fighting despair looks like, and hear an inspirational tale of turning adversity around, I urge you to watch this video.
As for sweating the small stuff, don't. If things don't happen the way we want, there's a reason, and we should be thankful for what's given and what isn't. So true. For instance that jerk who broke up with you, be thankful. Good riddance.
Think of it this way: kids also really don't understand when something is for their own good, try as we might to explain it to them. Maybe we are the kids and God / fate is trying to tell us to wise up, but we can't fully grasp it yet. Puts it into perspective when a scenario like this arises and you need to keep your cool:
"Eat your vegetables."
"NO! I want choccie!"
"No, eat your vegetables."
*Cue epic temper tantrum.*
Sound familiar? Don't despair. With any luck, they will grow up into wonderful adults, and have kids just like themselves one day! ;)