By Grant McGee
A fellow traveler called me the other day (the way I see it we’re all travelers).
He thought I might help him figure out why this past year was his lousiest year ever.
“I figured if anyone knew it would be you,” he said.
I don’t know why he thought that, but I figured the best I could do was listen: His wife left him, he was fired from his job and his dog died (I’m not making this up).
He got me remembering how at one time I thought things couldn’t get any worse in my life. I went looking for answers.
“Have you read the book of Job in the Bible?” I asked.
I’m sure you know Job’s story: He had it all, the devil challenged the Lord to test his devoted servant Job to see how strong his faith was, so Job lost it all. When the devil figured out that Job’s faith was unshakable he went away.
The Lord blessed Job with a new family and holdings.
I don’t know why the things that happen to us happen to us. I have come to understand life’s a journey and there’s a lesson in everything. Sometimes we are the student, sometimes we are the teacher.
The story of Job was just one thing I used to get through tough years. Other things were sayings I’ve run across.
“Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed.” That quote comes from the American poet and essayist Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. I thought how that explained the behavior of many people, including myself.
“There are no answers, only choices.” That one is from the George Clooney movie “Solaris.” In the middle of the flick a character was giving a monologue and he spoke those words. They quickly stuck in my mind and became my second favorite saying of all time.
“Expectation is the greatest source of suffering.” That’s a saying attributed to Buddha. It’s my all-time favorite saying. It explains so much. To me, it points out the source of problems we have ranging from wrestling with our own conscience and desires, to arguments between husbands and wives, family disagreements, business problems all the way up to why countries march off to war.
When we expect something and that expectation is denied, we get angry, frustrated or whatever other negative emotion you can think of ranging from mild to raging, probably bringing on more negative actions. Whenever something frustrates me I work to remember that saying.
“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” That was one I ran across attributed to Mark Twain.
Then there was a saying on the sign board of a Portales church: “He promised us a safe landing, not a trouble-free journey.”
My friend Kent sent me a real good one about a year ago. I taped it to my computer monitor: “Life is not a journey from cradle to grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to come skidding in sideways, bruised, battered, totally worn out, yelling, ‘WOW, WHAT A RIDE!’”
Maybe some of that stuff will shed some light on my fellow traveler’s past year, maybe not. Anyway, 2004 is over and 2005 is straight ahead.
Happy New Year, y’all.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: