What is really important in life? What makes life worth living?
These have been questions that have impacted me as I lead another suicide intervention course recently. Many people see their lives only in terms of ‘what they do’ rather than ‘who they are’. Thus, if your whole life is wrapped up in your job, when faced with discharge, life unravels! There is a difference between ‘how’ you make a living and ‘life’! There will continue to be frustrations and challenges in life; job issues and family issues will not just go away… the key, is finding peace in their midst. As I pondered this, it reminded me of a story:
“There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures.
But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror with peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too; but these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Why? The king explained, “because peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.”
That is the real meaning of peace. But sometimes we need to get away from it all to be able to “see it”.
Chaplain Ian Whitley