It's certainly been a varied beginning to my 2021!
On day two I found myself in an aged care facility certifying 'life extinct' on a gentleman in his nineties. He'd suffered from a chronic degenerative disease and finally died from pneumonia. I'd never seen the man before but I paused to look at the family photos that were on every wall. He'd obviously lived a full and well loved life and it was a paradox to look at those life-filled photos and then to look down and see the white, cold, lifeless corpse in the bed in front of me.
Day three found me celebrating a positive pregnancy test with a young Mum-to-be. She was about 6 weeks pregnant and even at that tiny stage I knew that the embryo within her was already human in form and had a beating heart!
Which brings me to the "miracle of life". Where does it come from and where does it go? This sort of question has been asked ever since humanity walked over our plains and across the mountains, and still we have't found the answer to this question.
I raise all this because on days 2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8 I have found myself having listening to patients of all ages who are suffering from anxiety. Sadly, the majority of those caught on the barb of bewilderment are young folk in their teens and twenties. And there is no one-size-fits-all for everyone as we all come from different backgrounds, environments, value systems (or lack of) etc.
I suspect that much of the anxiety is fear of not being in control and certainly a fear of dis-ease and death. Prior generations have had to deal with pandemics of global influenza, epidemics of polio, global wars, Holcausts, genocides, depressions ..... it's a long list. Previous generations also perhaps had a greater acceptance of sickness and death as being a natural part of the cycle of life - albeit that it was always accompanied by grieving and loss.
Today we are faced with daily headlines screaming FEAR .... and we need to put that into perspective.
A Swiss psychologist called Vicktor Frankl wrote a book called Mans Search for Meaning - a book well worth reading. In essence he was saying that if you have a meaning for living then you can put up with almost any amount of suffering.
In these times of wall to wall electronic distractions via phones, tablets and VR we find little time to explore the reason of "why am I here"? "What do I truly believe in?" No one can give you an answer to these types of questions as it's a life long search, but paradoxically it's a journey that can give you a sense of purpose and a real sense of comfort. I also recommend you to the ancient story of the Fisher King, which tells the story of Parsivals search for the Holy Grail, is still just as relevant today. Robert Johnson wrote a good book on the male psychology based on this story entitled "He" (he also wrote excellent books entitled She and We too!)
My challenge to you is that perhaps today is a great time to look past the clouds that seem to pervade our society and our own minds and see the blue skies and the rays of sunlight which splinter the darkness.
The answer is out there!