A chill passed through my bones, early this morning. I read the terrible report on the newspaper: A man in California had shot his young wife, five little children and finally himself. The reason: He and his wife, both, had been fired by their employer!
The ground beneath their feet had, suddenly, opened ... and, he did not know how to save his family. By killing all of them, he saved themselves from the situation.
Or, that's what he thought he was doing, when fear took over his mind.
I met Mohit, a smart young man, on my way to work. Dressed in an impeccably fine attire, this fresh MBA graduate was on his way to his office. It was his first day!
We spoke about several issues in our brief encounter, including the tragic episode in the US. Mohit, too, had read it before he had left home.
"The problem with the American society is that they live on credit line ... Their lifestyle depends on it," Mohit told me. "In India, we have a conservative lifestyle, a good saving culture, a very fine family network ... We may not crumble so easily."
"True," I agreed with Mohit. "Only fear I am having is that, such lifestyle has already made roadways here. Malls, multiplexes, clubs, luxury holidays ... I don't think a conservative society can thrive along with these. If you get a complex when you drive your car within a year or so of its acquisition, if you are desperate to replace your cellphone, Laptop, TV with the 'latest' ones - even though the existing ones are good enough to take care of your needs - I think, it is a sign that the 'trouble' has pitched his tent here, already."
"The world has become a global village, today, sir," Mohit said, "We cannot isolate ourselves from the sweeping changes that take place all around us. All that we should remember is that we should not get carried away by the social glitter; we should keep our roots strong."
"You have conveyed it so beautifully, Mohit," I said, as we parted our ways. "Wish you all the best in your career," I added.
I was happy to note that a young man, just out from his college campus, was able to grasp the situation with such maturity.
Life situations shape us for the better or for the worse. They constantly throw before us the challenges, constantly test us, and make us realise - that, living with dignity calls for making our constant choices ... When we make the wrong ones, learn from our mistakes, make amends, and move on ...
It is about thirty years, since I first read Dr. Robert Schuller's inspiring book - 'Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do'. Tough times have come and gone in my own life, I have survived. Tough times still stare at me, even today, as I write this piece - and I know that like a hurricane, they will go back ... I will survive.
If needed, I will bend. If needed, I will strike. I will be 'prepared' all my life. As our former President had conveyed this lesson in such a poetic message:
"All your life, be prepared.
If you are an anvil, bear;
If you are a hammer, strike."
Is it not, then, the secret that can save us when the ground beneath our feet opens?
Perhaps, to discover and deploy this secret, we need one more thing: GRACE!