As I left the house today to get a haircut, I ran across a thirty-second clip of uncommon wisdom on social media.
The clip contended that suffering is one of life’s most exalted opportunities. Failure is good, James Skalski went on to say, and pain, difficult times, loss, and suffering bring death to the ego in a rite of purification, a prerequisite to personal heroism of the spirit.
Reflecting on the powerful message while driving to the barbershop, I was suddenly overcome by a wave of intense connection, reducing me to tears of joy. After arriving, I took a minute to compose myself, and walked in.
Staggering through the door, I did my best to speak intelligibly beyond Parkinson’s slur, introducing myself to the young lady who would be cutting my hair. We started a conversation.
She told me that her husband worked as a fireman part-time, spending the rest of his day taking care of their two daughters, much as I did with our two children after my 2005 diagnosis.
Her husband was debating whether to go to work full-time. She said, “More money would be nice, but we feel it’s more important to have one of us with the children.”
It struck me that she probably did not make much money cutting hair, and I wondered how they made ends meet. Overcome by her humble good nature and authenticity, it was refreshing to witness this awareness of what was important in life.
Two events experienced in the same hour, each different in content and delivery, with both conveying a rousing spirit of piety through humility’s quiet grace. What we focus on determines our life’s direction: if you’re looking for the good in the world, you will see good everywhere you look.