Sometimes giving up is the only hope


I’ve been feeling rather resentful lately, struggling with a bunch of petty crap. Really, my life isn’t so bad. I live in a great city, with good friends and a job that pays well. The only suffering I experience is what goes on in my head.

But anyway: I suffer. Depression has caught up with me again. I don’t feel like I’m contributing anything to society. I’m not living my passion (as my Facebook friends continually exhort me to do by posting inspiring picture-quotes). I feel like my job is slow and tedious. People are getting on my nerves. I just want to hide away. Last night I had a dream that a sketchy-looking guy on a waterfront pier told me he could help me disappear and start a new life. I almost took him up on it.

Today was World Suicide Prevention Day. At the local library, a panel of five people from five religions gathered to talk about forgiveness and its effect on wellness, in the context of mental health and suicide prevention. I’m glad I went.

A question came up that got me thinking: How does forgiveness help us find hope for a better future (and thus prevent suicide)?

That’s when I heard Jack Nicholson in my head: “What if this is as good as it gets?”

What if there is no hope for a better future? What if the circumstances of my life won’t get any better? What if I will always have problems? What if life never stops being annoying?

What if the only way to end my suffering is either to end my life, or to forgive my life for being what it is?

To forgive everyone in my life for being imperfect. To forgive myself for making mistakes. To forgive traffic lights and annoying co-workers and inconvenient weather.

What if I can forgive and accept my life and everyone and everything in it, exactly as it is, exactly as we all are? I don’t think that would be “hope” in the traditional sense. Hope demands that circumstances change. Forgiveness does not.

So, if I could completely forgive everyone and everything, could I find relief from the suffering of resistance to life? Could I even find bliss?

Something in me knows this is the only way out: to find peace and joy in forgiveness and acceptance.

Something else in me knows I’ll forget this truth the next time I get stuck at some idiot traffic light.

But I can make an attempt today.

And maybe another one… the day after tomorrow.

(And forgive myself for the suffering I cause myself in between.)

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About Craig

Craig lives in Calgary, Alberta.
This entry was posted in compassion, gratitude, healing. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Sometimes giving up is the only hope

  1. Susan says:

    Wow. Why don’t you blog more? And why haven’t I been reading it? I’ve been working on something similar to forgiveness – compassion. Compassion for myself and others has really helped me.

    • Craig says:

      Thank you, Susan! I haven’t been writing lately because, frankly, I’ve been in a creative slump akin to depression. It’s hard to find the energy to do stuff. Thank you for reading, and thank you for having compassion for people. That makes a difference. Next time I’m in NZ I’ll give you a hug. 🙂

  2. Wendy Lapainis says:

    Question to myself this week was “What is bliss? What does it feel like, taste like, smell like, look like. Can I hear it? I do not know.

    Enjoyed your post. Got me thinking,

    • Craig says:

      I’m glad I got you thinking about bliss. 🙂 The trick is to feel it rather than mentalize it. If there’s anything I can do to assist in that regard… Oops, my inner playboy is coming out again!

  3. Craig, thank you… printed this one off so I can highlight key parts for me, and post where I will see it. Off to dry my tears and practice hooping 🙂 Wishing you a easeful, joyful day.
    peace and hugs,
    joanne

  4. Craig, you’re not the only one who is going through this, I’m not quite sure what’s going on lately by at least 4 close friends of mine have gone on extended sick leave in recent weeks because of depression and just suffering from overwhelming anxiety.

    I know exactly what you’re talking about because I’m sometimes there myself. it’s the easiest thing in the world to post up an inspirational quote on faceBook in an attempt to make someone feel better but ultimately in the system we’re living in, that sense of dis-empowerment comes from the fact that you’re giving your energy away, whether that’s a job, a company, superficial friends etc. any construct which in turn, isn’t reciprocating that energy back to you at an emotional level. Energy flows where attention goes. And it becomes an uphill battle to find that energy again when you’re depleted to put to use into creative outlets. When you’re depleted, you become more vulnerable and sensitive and your nerves get frayed, which leads to annoyance at little things, which then leads to anger, which then leads to God knows what else down the line if it isn’t dealt with properly.

    Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we can accomplish, especially forgiveness towards oneself. It’s a state of grace, it happens when it happens, we can’t force it to happen but we can work towards it a little every day. It can take years for some people. I remember once talking to a childhood friend who eventually became a priest and he said that one of the most effective ways to come to that state of forgiveness is to literally pray for that person who may have hurt you or pissed you off, that it’s impossible to stay angry and pray at the same time in the same space within yourself.

    • Craig says:

      Thank you for sharing that. It’s true, I do feel depleted, and my nerves are not as resilient as they were. I’m trying to be more careful with my social time these days.

  5. Joey says:

    A Course in Miracles…

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