We go through our day to day life with an aggregate plan in our mind of things we need to accomplish. We become so focused on our daily tasks that we often do not pay attention to the little signals and whispers that are trying to convey a message to us.
Instead, we note big and unfortunate incidents in other people’s lives. We feel sorry for them, express our sympathy for them, sermonize to ourselves and others on lessons learned, and then reassure ourselves that it won’t happen to us.
This uneventful state lasts only for so long. One day we realize that bad things do happen to us; that we are not just onlookers but have rather become a statistic; a subject of anecdotes; a person who is cited as an example of what others should or should not do.
Awful things attributed to bad luck often envelop us without any warning. We may be happily lounging in the coffee shop, sipping at our almond amaretto flavored coffee and chatting with our long found friend, only to have someone ram into our car parked in the parking lot. Or a new boss could be thrust upon us whose sole purpose in life is to derive sadistic pleasure by making us as miserable as he or she possibly can. Or we could be studying so hard for an exam that we feel our brain cells oozing out of our skull, and then find ourselves unranked when the results are out! In these instances and so many more, all we can possibly do is swallow the pill and face the music.
But in general, when a bad situation is about to occur, we get ample warnings. It’s as if the universe whispers to us through a variety of sources, gently and innocuously prodding us to watch out. Some of these sources could be a news story similar to the situation that we can foresee ourselves in; an event that happens in someone’s life and could have easily happened in ours, or it could be an acquaintance or dear one warning us about a particular thing.
However, convinced that we are invincible, we choose to ignore these cues. Perhaps we are too preoccupied with other seemingly more important things to dwell on them. We think to ourselves “Oh. It won’t happen to me. I am careful about such things, I have such and such….. (defense), I am more alert, I am smarter”. As we say this, we feel our chest puffing with arrogance and lips curling in a smug self-lauding smile.
It’s only after what we did not believe would happen to us, happens, that we realize our foolhardiness and ignorance. We realize that we are not as impregnable or superior as we had considered ourselves to be.
When the dust settles and we reminisce about the unpleasant event that just transpired in our life, we cannot help but acquiesce to the fact that the universe was indeed trying to tell us in multiple ways to be on guard, to be vigilant, to be prepared. But we were riding high and did not find it worthwhile and necessary to pay any heed to these indicators.
Alas…this is a mistake commonly made….
As evident to me by an incident that happened not too long ago.
My dog Buddy is a feisty young fella who loves to run around and greet his own kind. When I take him for his walks and he sees another dog, he dashes straight on, impervious to the cars and anything else on the road. To contain him, I have to hold on tightly to his leash.
However, since we walk mostly during the time when there are not too many people or dog walkers on the road, and, for the most part, he listens to me, I often let him loose. He is a good boy and does not stray very far away from me. On occasions, he has bolted off on spotting a dog far away but since I am familiar with people walking their dogs in the neighborhood, they hold on to him until I get to them.
Good-naturedly, these people have warned me that Buddy could get hit by a car and that I should not let go of his leash. Then I heard of an acquaintance whose dog got hit by a car while they were walking him without a leash. So you would think that these instances would have been a wake-up call for me. But sadly, it was not “forewarned is forearmed ” situation for me. Within a couple of days, the memory of these warnings faded off. All I can say in my defense is that I had an inordinate amount of confidence in myself, in my “Buddy” and in the protection provided to us by the Almighty.
Nevertheless, the bubble burst and this confidence got tested last week. When I was walking Buddy, he saw a squirrel and dashed for it, chasing it across the road. There was a car coming from the other side, and ignoring my repeated calls for him to stop and come back, Buddy kept on running forward. Luckily for all of us, the car was able to stop in time and Buddy was saved by an inch. It was a lesson for me that I hope will stay engraved in my mind for a long time. Had anything happened to Buddy, I would have no one to blame other than my carelessness and my inability to attend to the warnings that had been issued to me multiple times.
It was a lesson, given fair and square to me, that God only helps those who help themselves. That we need to be on an alert and that we need to attune our ears to listen to these whispers – for the consequences of not listening to the universe may be harder to bear than we may realize.