One of the things that strikes me about beliefs and convictions is how quickly they melt away when things get hard. For a Christian, it is easy to claim bible passages about God being for you when everything is super. But when things get rough, enter bad choices and unhealthy decisions. Atheist Humanists will speak so beautifully about reason when things are swell, but when life gets hard, they will make quite unreasonable decisions. When the storm passes and we get through it without conviction, we will then return to our convictions and never see the disconnect.
Who you are when things go wrong and how you behave when you are in pain is your lived principle and the stated one is mere tubthumping. It is empty words and sentiments that hold no truth in your life when things go awry.
That anger? That alcohol? That wrath? That hopelessness and despair? Those bad decisions? That is who you are and those are your true self. The principles you claim when everything is sunshine and roses is some idea and a facade we wear because the primal nature of who we are is not something we want to face.
The person who drinks too much instead of prays. The person who wants revenge instead of love. The person who is divisive when logic and reason demand unity. The person who hates their enemies instead of loves them. The person who is a closeted racist when they see something they do not like. The person who has an affair when a relationship gets difficult.
This is who we are. This is a part of us. The ideals may reflect who we want to be. We will never get there with mere words, we will get there with actions.
When I drove a taxi, there was this thing I learned to keep safe when you are out on the road 12 hours a night. It was called the 'what if' game. What if that guy blows the red light? What if that pedestrian darts out in front of me? What if my fare has a knife and wants to rob me? When you asked the what if questions, you had to have an answer. Here was the crazy part? It worked. Because eventually, someone does run the red, a pedestrian darts in front of you, and someone tried to rob you.
So. What if that relationship goes south? What if the job falls apart? What if the test is positive? What if your loved one gets cancer? What if you experience hardship and heartache? You will. Do you have a plan to live the stated convictions or will you just react? Will you take honest stock of who you are so you can draw a map to who you want to be? You can either have that plan or run around in a circle like an overtired SIM who eventually wets themselves and then passes out in the middle of the floor.
The plans will not always work. There are some things beyond our imagination to plan for. We do not want to dwell on the negative when life is positive. But when you are in a good place is the best time to prepare for a bad place.
We all know how we behave when everything goes wrong and we all know the mantra that we cannot control events, only our reaction. We all know this.
We have fire drills when there is no fire. It prepares us to be calm and safe should a fire happen. We are told what to do in an emergency every time we get in an airplane in case something does happen. We do not want these things to happen, we do not dwell on them for negativity sake, we do it for survival.
Some will say they are in too much pain for principles. I know pain. We all do. I am not unsympathetic to pain. Our stated principles will fall short to the reality of our actions when we are in pain, it is part of the human experience to fall short. That is okay. We can do better. We can come closer. We just need to plan and to ask..what if. Because things go wrong.
Is there too much pain for principles? Perhaps at times. But we can sure try our best to live our stated convictions when shit goes wrong. And if those convictions and principles do not work in execution, we may need new principles and convictions and philosophies. We may need a better plan.
There is too much pain for poorly lived principles.