There are some things – in fact, a great many things – that will never happen to us. We genuinely think these things occur to others; fatal car accidents, fire reducing our house to rubble, divorce, the death of a child.
The things ‘that won’t happen to me’ may well just occur.
Then there are things that just will happen to us – like that infatuation we feel is destined to become the love of our lives that comes to nothing, the job applied for that is ‘all ours’ is offered to someone else, or when the car we seek to lease or buy doesn’t actually last in the lot.
Sometimes our romantic sense gets away from us. We set our expectations up and they get to be dashed because we just didn’t see failure coming or we found realism unpalatable.
Some things we believe won’t happen, just as some things we feel definitely will happen.
Both of these can be tragedies, but the former (things that we think won’t happen to us and do) is likely to be more of a tragedy, whilst the latter (the things that we think will happen and don’t) is more likely to become a bitter disappointment.
Wisdom will dictate this truth: the things we think won’t happen to us can happen and the things we think will happen may not at all come to pass.
To be wise is to guard our hearts against the deceit of our hearts. Our weakness is made our strength when we align ourselves to the readily observable experience of reality. But our weakness must be overcome. Our weakness is the inability to see the potential events that are possible in this life. So much is possible, yet not that much that is undesirable is actually probable. There is a tension between what is possible and what is probable.
Wisdom, in the present respect, is exemplified when we readily visualise that what hasn’t happened actually can; premature death, an affair, trouble with the police, a car accident.
On the other hand, we are wise when we don’t get ahead of ourselves; not everything we think should happen actually does. Indeed, a lot of what we desire in this life doesn’t happen when we want it to, or it doesn’t happen at all.
Life is a lot less predictable than we wish it to be. Some things happen that we never saw coming. Other things don’t happen when we were sure they would. There is wisdom in staying grounded to the possibilities and probabilities of life.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.