Key Takeaway: What truly matters isn’t the circumstances – the cards dealt you – you face, but how you face them and what you do about them – how you play those cards. Making the most out of a bad hand is infinitely better than wasting a good one.
Many of us tend to question certain things in our own lives. Why does so-and-so have more (especially if they seem to not deserve it), why does such-and-such get away with things, why are the innocent befallen by such tragedies, and so on. And that’s perfectly normal: we humans are given the power to question – though, sadly, we also always seem to want what we don’t have.
Things get even more heartbreaking when they become really unanswerable, like the ever-mind-boggling question of why evil exists – or at least why God allows it to do so if he is all-good and all-powerful. Even in our daily lives, there can be these kinds of questions that leave us shattered, perhaps for good. But I have good news for you: You can take the first step in picking yourself back up, even if you will be shattered for life.
The story of Courageous Caitie is one such example. She didn’t ask for cancer, and at such a young age too. Yet she and her family accepted the reality in front of them with much grace and strength – and the very opposite response to how anyone else would have done so. They Made The Most out of the admittedly terrible hand dealt them – way better than anyone could have done even with a much better hand.
As I said before, your circumstances play a crucial role in your purpose – and this is a truth that cannot and must not be ignored if we’re serious in living purposeful lives. Your purpose is driven by love (that is, awareness and service), and shaped by the circumstances playing in your life. Your circumstances, beliefs, passions, strengths, even weaknesses: your Life Kit.
We are all equal in the sense that we are all made in God’s image and likeness, and thus equally have innate, unsurmountable human dignity. What isn’t equal is our unique life footprint – and that’s the way things are. We may never know why there is so much inequality in the world in this sense (hence, social injustice) – but what we do know is that we have the power, however small, to be as “positive” as we can given what has been given us.
In his bestselling book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, Fr. James J. Martin, S.J. defines obedience to God as acceptance of the reality in front of you – that, we can say, we trust in God to lead us even if things seem dire and bleak with no hope of improving. (It’s interesting to know that despair taken to the extreme is actually a violation of the First Commandment, because it implies you don’t trust in God to get you through!) The circumstances you’re in may seem a tragedy, but it’s what you do about it that matters.
If the cards that have been dealt you make up a terrible hand, rather than mope about it (which is sad, literally and figuratively) or shuffle it back (which is impossible), make the best move you can. However poorly it compares with others’. Actually, scrap that: let’s stop caring about how others’ hands are better than ours. We have our own hands to worry about. Cards will come and go, and need to be played. The question is, how will you play them?
You’d be in a better position Making The Most out of a terrible hand, than if you had an excellent hand but utterly wasted it – wasted the opportunities to grow towards your purpose, to discover and live it. People like Courageous Caitie, Nick Vujicic, and J.K. Rowling (before she had published Harry Potter) are shining testaments to that.
How do you start doing so? One way you can do so is by expressing gratitude even if the thing/s to be grateful for are very little (I myself have trouble with this, all the time). It humbles you and reminds you that were it not for certain people or circumstances, you wouldn’t be who you are now. Or you can reflect on whatever strengths and abilities you have, and cook up a way to Make The Most out of your scant hand.
Let’s try doing so this weekend, regardless of the cards dealt us. 🙂
Have a purposeful weekend and a Happy Day of Valor!