Most movie lovers agree that watching a 3D film is more thrilling than watching the same film in 2D. But to be able to appreciate the thrill of a 3D movie one must put on 3D stereoscopic glasses. “A 3D film viewed without glasses’, as one movie critic put it, “is a very strange sight and may appear to be out of focus, fuzzy or out of register”.
The same can be said about a broader spectrum of life. In this beautiful world of ours two people will be experiencing exactly the same life situation; one will be absolutely loving it but the other will be mortified by it. The difference in reaction to life is the difference in perspectives- the attitudes through which we ‘see’ it.
For example, most of us harbour unrealistic expectations that are based on misinformation at best and on fantancy at worst. Typically, we all believe that the best is yet to come. Most of us believe that yesterday was better than today and we always want to believe that tomorrow will be even better than yesterday. This very attitude causes us to despise our present and long for our ‘good old days’.
No one has ever seen tomorrow. Every time tomorrow comes we call it ‘today’. Some of us have developed a pathological attitude of hating our today in the expense of our tomorrow, and when ‘tomorrow’ finally arrives we don’t find it to be as great as we expected. This way we never enjoy our life because we’re caged in a circle of disappointments.
A new study recently published by Brock University in Canada shows that even depressed individuals believe in a brighter future. The findings proves that adults who had a history of depression tended to evaluate their past and current lives in more negative terms than did adults without depression, but this negativity didn’t extend to their beliefs about the future.
“It turns out that even clinically depressed individuals are also characterized by the belief that one’s life in the future will be more satisfying than one’s past and current life. And this pattern of beliefs appears to be a risk factor for future depression, even over a 10-year period.” Says Michael Busseri, a psychological scientist and lead researcher of Brock University.
In his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Dr. Victor Frankyl tells a story of a man known as “ F”, a fellow prisoner at the Nazi concentration camp who held a dream of freedom. Believed to have heard a divine voice F believed that come 30.3.1945 WWII would come to an end, their suffering would be over and they will finally be able to enjoy their life again. But as the promised day drew nearer, the war news which reached our camp made it appear very unlikely that they would be free on the promised date. On March twenty-ninth, F suddenly became ill and ran a high temperature. On March thirtieth, the day his prophecy had told him that the war and suffering would be over for him, he became delirious and lost consciousness. On March thirty-first, he was dead.
Dr. Frankyl, a renowned Psychiatrist himself later said, “ The ultimate cause of my friend’s death was that the expected liberation did not come and he was severely disappointed. This suddenly lowered his body’s resistance against the latent typhus infection. His faith in the future and his will to live had become paralyzed and his body fell victim to illness—and thus the voice of his dream was right after all. “
A fulfilled dream is a source of life, the scripture says, but deferred hope leads to a broken heart. (Proverbs 13:12)
Depression results from a poisonous thought that says a certain circumstance – regardless of when it happens – is both bad and unnecessary. Depressed people are victims of their own thoughts. They harbour negative thoughts about something that happened in the past, about something currently happening or about the unknown future. Having great expectation about your future but still harbour guilt and resentment about your life experience does not help.
Am I saying hope is useless? Not at all. All I’m saying is that expectation based entirely on human information is potentially disappointing. Since God’s love lasts forever the only hope that never disappoints is that which is rooted in God’s perspective. What this means in practice is that unfailing hope is that which is based on the understanding that God – the all powerful and with unquestionable everlasting love – can never allow anything to come my way unless it has eternal good. This is the fabric of what I call a Three Dimensional (3D) Perspective.
A 3D perspective sees life from God’s perspective, through the lens of God’s love. 3D perspective sees each circumstance – past, present or future – to be uniquely profitable in its own right and yet harmoniously interconnected to produce a one fulfilling continuous (eternal) life. A person wearing a 3D attitude strongly believes whatever God let happen yesterday, whatever is happening today and whatever happens tomorrow – no matter how it feels – is distinctively valuable and it fits perfectly in God’s good grand plan.
This, I must add, does not mean we should be naïve, accept every circumstance– including those that need improving – as they come and do absolutely nothing about them. In this life there are two types of circumstances. First there changeable circumstances – things we’re meant to work hard to change them. Then there are the un-changeables – circumstances that were meant to change us. In other words we’re supposed to change the changeables and endure the unchangeables.
In the words of Reinhold Niebuhr we’re supposed to ask God to grant us the courage to change the things we can, the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I strongly believe that every circumstance – be it during the process of changing them or enduring them – is meant to improve our lives by improving us.
Every life moment has sweet and sour facet. Though different, both facets are equally precious. The sweet bit of life makes us feel fulfilled and there fore help us enjoy our life more. The sour bit makes us twitch for a moment, but is equally good because it serves as an ingredient of future sweet moments. Today’s sour is tomorrow’s sweet. Without a doubt, tomorrow will be better and different in many ways, but the bitter moments of yesterday and today are the ones that will make tomorrow taste better.
The secret to enduring joy, therefore, is to always keep your eyes on the brighter side of life. And in the occasion when you’re forced to glare at the life’s dark side put on the 3D glasses of God’s love. In so doing, I promise, you’ll see things differently.
I strongly believe the best is yet to come. In the meantime, I’ll cherish my memories, draw inspiration, and learn from my past experiences as I make the most of my present that’s already here. And in case the future won’t represent the best I expected I am prepared to enjoy my life journey nev