Imagine taking your child to play on a wonderful playground. Your time is limited – each person only gets a 30-minute pass. You’re glad that you and your son or daughter waited out the long line and have finally entered this magical play space. You point to a sparkling merry-go-round and ask your little one if you should go for a ride, or if you should go to the sandbox first. The merry-go-round looks interesting, but then your child suddenly gets sullen and announces that they don’t want to go any more because the horses are pink and blue, and they want green ones. You explain that this is how the horses were created, and that it’s impossible to change the color. Plus, the clock is ticking, and all the stubborn crying about a color that was impossible to change has already eaten up half of your thirty minutes. You try to explain that soon there won’t be any time left to enjoy this amazing space, but your reasoning goes unheard. Your child gets angry, goes off into a corner and demonstratively pouts that the horses aren’t green.
We behave in exactly the same way when we’re angry at the world, at the objectively existing reality. When we’re obstinate and demand that people be different than how they were created – that the world be different, that life be different. Finally, we get angry with God too – that he gave us too little or too much of something, or not the right color or not the right form, and so on. And time goes by without stopping. In the wonderful playground called life, there is less and less time left for playing amazing games, because we’re wasting it on resentment that our life is not in line with our whims or vision of how things should be.
What would you do if you were the parent of this touchy child? Would you try to persuade your little one to play and have fun until the very last minute, or would you lose patience and take the ingrate out of there before your time was even up to make space for other children who actually want to play?
When we read an example like this, we realize how stupid it is to be angry about something that can’t be changed. And how stupid it is to waste time in a wonderful space where you can experience amazing things instead of getting angry. Unfortunately, in life, we often behave like that little ingrate, and we don’t even realize it.
We negotiate with God about how things should be, forgetting that we are just co-creators of that game called life, but we are not the masters of the playground itself. On this earth, we only have guest rights and cannot impose indisputable rules or our own absolutes on everything that was already created billions of years before us. It is important to realize that at this moment, it is not so much a question of free will as it is a question of gratitude for our existence.
Resentment towards life, the world or God means that we do not accept the rules of the game that our soul has chosen to grow and improve by. Not only do we not accept them – we also oppose them. Resentment towards life means that we are arguing with God and with what is – with reality, which we cannot change. We feel resentment that our loved ones die and leave us, we are angry about people of different genders because we see inequality, we get mad that people are sick or have a hard time getting by, or that our wishes are not being fulfilled. We feel all kinds of resentment towards the Creator and only in very rare moments do we recognize the perfection of the world. That’s just who we are.
It’s like we’re negotiating with God, saying, “Give me a good husband or wife, smart healthy children, a well-paid job, my own house, a car, and then I’ll be happy.” Not only do we not give thanks for life – for the opportunity to exist and live on this earth – or for what we already have, we even forget to smile, living years on end with gloomy faces in a state of scarcity or a position of sacrifice.
We’re usually mad at life because it is unjust. It seems to us that the world is ignoring us, that life is wronging us by giving us too much hardship, struggle and stress, and that the Creator sometimes forgets about our existence in general. Then we get enraged and say that God has forsaken us.
Author: Alma Jansen