I know all about these days. And, no, I am not self-pitying over them. Instead I see them as part and parcel of being alive. We all have to endure them and go through rather than around them. After all, all that we have is effort and can’t guarantee outcomes.

We can’t change outcomes in general, although can do so in small ways. We humans can’t ensure that our patients will stay alive during coronavirus times, but we can put in our best effort to help as do medical staff express in intentions and care while being aware that there is much goodness, beauty and gratitude that we can exude.

We can’t always get what we want, as The Rolling Stones sang. Gandhi explained the position well to a friend of my parents: it is down below in this writing.

Days from Hell take on many forms. One for me was when I was driving on the NJ Turnpike since I lived in New Jersey and my father was dying in New York.

An eighteen wheeler driver, driver of a huge truck, didn’t see my vehicle. He was ramming toward my back car bumper.

So I hugged the railing, the concrete barrier on the driver’s side. It was around an inch from me. Oh, you can bet that I paid attention to it’s placement in relation to my little car. Then I shifted out into traffic after the giant truck passed.

When my mother was dying and in a coma, I climbed into bed with her and told her that she was loved and to let go. I try to do my best in rough, undeniably awful circumstances. I always do.

My latest dreadful day pushed me into the maximum of myself. I was trying to feed my dying cat water to the mouth using my fingers in the cat water bowl to mouth lips. Then I held the cat up in my arms to show petting and love. Then I went upstairs to take a nap.

Well, the cat went up after me. I suppose that it was for more comfort and support. Then the little animal died half way up the stairs. In my life for 18 years and, then, gone in a flash. I felt shock in repeated waves go through my body.

Then the internet and tv went down for two day starting on the same day that the cat expired. Wow, what a nasty coincidence!

When considering the sheer magnitude of it all, one easily can get discouraged. As such, I try to imagine that most of the others with the same goals as mine and sometimes when I, personally, do — I recall this ensuing account. (It helps me regain my strength of purpose when everything starts looking too bleak for me to carry on.)

It is one shared with me by my parents, who knew the featured, young American during the 1940’s. As an aside, he was nineteen years old at the time of his return to the US…

After having lived at Gandhi’s ashram and shortly before his departure back to the US, a young man requested an exit interview with Gandhi (who brought his Hindi interpreter along). Upon meeting for this final time, the eager young man asked, “How can I ensure that your message of peace and universal brotherhood can be made a successful realization in America? What can I do to make certain that this WILL happen?”

In response, Gandhi shakily rose to leave and answered the query in Hindi (despite that he could speak in perfect King’s Standard English as he had been trained as a lawyer in Great Britain). Meanwhile, the interpreter translated into English, “Interview is ended.”

The young man pleaded, “But why? What is wrong? I do not understand.”

Gandhi, turning back from leaving the room, replied, “It is because we are not speaking the same language. You see, you speak of success and think of failure. Your vision and your words are wrong… Instead, you must think of yourself and all of us as birth attendants upon the world. We will and must try to do our utmost to bring about a good delivery as it is our responsibility. However, we, absolutely, cannot think in terms of success and failure. We simply must do all we can in the best way that we know to help the world irrespective of any presumed outcome. Our effort, in and by itself, must be our whole focus.”

In a similar vein, we know where personally isolating ourselves from personal and global difficulties, while doing nothing to try to address them, leads. We, also, know where indulging in various forms of self-advancement, at the exclusion of others, does. What we do not know, though, is how intentional changes in some life choices can make a difference. Nonetheless, we have to try out these alternatives. After all, it is the only viable way to proceed toward our world’s future!

Sometimes, I wonder what Gandhi might think if he were to see the world as it is today. Would he be gloomy?

No, I doubt it. He would muddle through just as we do during coronavirus times. He was strong and in love with the world as many of us are. So he would Not have succumbed to the doom and gloom. He would just carry onward until he always did while alive

Sally Dugman writes from MA, USA.


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