Trying to make sense where there isn’t any

 Yesterday at around 5pm I was walking towards the train station with this invincible “I love life, I love myself, I love everybody in it”- rush that probably made me walk like a rubber ball would if it had short legs. Work had been busy but productive and rather then  returning home to an event-less evening, I was going to be able to spend  quality time with my dad and husband and then  get some time to work on my first life project  (ok, I know there are others, however this one is planned rather than stumbled upon) for which the idea wheel had been spinning furiously for the last two days.  

Things turned out differently. I got to experience first hand, how money can act as a magnifying glass for who we are,  can magnify existing challenges. 

But life isn’t that simple.It would be naive to think that one theory like that explains how life and people work. In this case, the prospects of inheriting assets and dreaming of how life, or even better, a person themselves will change thanks to that inheritance cannot by itself act as an explanation to why siblings loose trust  (and this might be a little challenging but I will dear to put the  big ‘L’-word as a replacement) in  each other and decide to pay strangers who bill by the hour to take over their responsibility.  

“Dad would be proud of me, for I am doing what he would have wanted”. It’s a noble cause, even more so, if that cause requires one to stand up against all the other entities who obviously don’t have the same interest, even if they are telling you so. But what happens if this sibling’s interpretation of what Dad wanted and how to make him proud is different then the one of his other brothers? Isn’t it true that the only person who would be a 100% sure of what he wanted, was Dad himself (not to mention that most people sometimes get confused with that themselves or don’t always get the time to think about what they really want)?

Challenge number 3: the past. As much as we would like to live in the present, the past shapes us, impacts us, our decisions, our feelings. Trouble is when there isn’t a maintained dialogue to ensure that all involved parties move together from past to present and so on. I myself have that challenge, as my past  lives across the ocean, and as much as I have grown since the last time I’ve met with family, friends or acquaintances, there is a reasonable chance that they have too, despite me not being there to witness it. However, it is easy to assume that just because my sister couldn’t handle money 10 years ago, that she still cannot do it (my dear sister: this example is purely fictional and not based on any real life situations), whereas in reality, she might have  realized she was in trouble, went to talk to a financial advisor, read some books, took some classes and now is doing better than most of the population. All that I hear is the fact that she buys herself a new car, that she didn’t really need (in my opinion of course) and she really cannot afford (in my opinion, because I certainly couldn’t afford it) and that just proves my assumption. 

Then there is knowledge or lack thereof. Obviously we can’t know everything about  everything. Therefore it’s safe to say that there are other people out there who know more about something than we do. Further there are people out there who like to research things or are more ambitious to understand things. So what happens if someone knows more about something than I do?   I either trust that he or she does know what they are talking about or I don’t, and if I am interested I might go and research it myself (which again will mostly be based on someone else’s opinion) .

If that knowledge is something you see on TV or discuss at a dinner party, you probably do not care too much. However if it’s regarding a subject that affects you and your live personally (like for example inheritance matters) not knowing something or knowing less than the other involved people renders you vulnerable. And  humans don’t like to be vulnerable, we dislike it so much that it often triggers some very strange thinking patterns. Trust now seems a liability rather than a virtue, even if we have known the people in questions all our lives.

Expectations. One can argue whether having expectations is a reasonable or not but I don’t think that’s the issue at all. The issue is that  existing expectations aren’t always communicated, either not at all or then poorly. If expectations would have been communicated, they would seize to be expectations but become requests. Having expectations is easy, or at least I find myself having a lot of them. The difficulty with expectations seems to be that the person who has the expectations (and I think I can fairly say that females have more than  men, but that’s a subject for another day), assumes that their expectation is reasonable. When it’s regarding someone else though or involving someone else, ‘reasonable’ has to become a negotiation.  This is very difficult without a dialogue.  

The list could go on.  Yes, this whole situation is complex, and my need to find some sensible explanation for it pressing. “First assume no malice” rings in my head. I try to live by that. Living by that brings challenges. If I assume no malice, then  I have to find other explanations. I am not sure I like those any better; lack of trust, fear, different view and the realization that one action driven by those items, have now created pain and the elimination of many good things that could have been done. Not just for one party, but for all the parties involved.  

With that a lot of “maybe we should have, could have” -thoughts are surfacing. But even that is just a desperate attempt to explain and therefore be in control of what isn’t in our control. Which of course does not free us of the responsibility to try our best to contribute towards our own and our fellow human’s well being. So when we are lying in bed at night, and our internal voice assures us that we acted according to our values and can honestly say that we did all we could have done, we might have to remind ourselves, that even so, life might have other plans and make sure that  we don’t lose the respect, the love and trust.  

Looking back at the entry lines of this journey through my mind (fine, some of it and yes, for everybody who has fought their way through above lines, there is more), my evening plans didn’t really change that much at all. I did spend quality time with my father and my husband. Being confronted with a difficult situation, I got to see sides of both of them that I didn’t know and therefore got to know them better. I was confronted with my own belief systems and values, and realized once more, that as we learn more, they need to be re-evaluated. I realized that although life might be simple if we managed to live certain ideas, living those ideas is a journey through unknown territory. No matter how well traveled we are, there’s always more. Thank God.  

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~ by spasmicallyperfect on October 25, 2006.

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