The Gift of Opposition
When I am working with people, I hear similar things over and over that weave a pattern into and answer questions I have long wondered.
“Why does my life seem so hard, when others seem to have it easier?”
“I can never just catch a break.”
“When is my life finally going to start? When will have the home, the family, the job, the money I want?”
I could write essays on so many things that have been answered since I started doing readings. One thing recently that has profoundly moved me is that it is friction that causes the spark, the spark that lights the fire….
Opposition is what engages our ability in moving forward. The more things we have against us, and the more we are willing to use them to recover, the further in our journey we will progress and the more we open up to spirit.
Think about it, remember Forrest Gump? It is the movie about the slow witted, but endearing, optimistic man that seemed to stumble into one glorious adventure after another and lived a life beyond his wildest dreams. He seemed to face opposition on a regular basis. I use him as an upbeat example, when I could have used the movie Happyness with Will Smith, or my own person story. The point is how he responded to the issues. The OPPOSITION.
Raised by a single mother, he was a slow learner, today we might call him high functioning autistic. He did this while wearing leg braces to correct a back problem. He grows up loving Jenny, a girl from abusive home. Forrest comes to love her unconditionally and yet never can seem to catch a break around her. I am going to stop right there.
I want to break down the issues because each one has a beautiful solution.
Forest’s mother- She ran a bed and breakfast in Georgia. She loved Forrest powerfully, so with all his trials there was one person he could rely on until he was at a place he could rely on himself. She tried instilling in him–hope. It is where the cliché, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get”, comes from. On her death bed she tells him, “I happen to believe you make your own destiny, that you have to make the best with what God gave you.” Forrest Gump was loved…. So, in opposition to his struggles, God gave Forrest his mother to teach him what he would need to know in his life. You may need to think hard, but we all have people around us to inspire us or teach us, if not parents, then school teachers…. Even those who seem against us can teach us. They sometimes can teach us the greatest lessons. How not to be, or what we don’t want.
Those braces, well they might have been one of his greatest gifts. Now physically they presented to the world as a deformity. They could be seen as a powerful opposition. People took notice of Forrest, Jennie was originally one of them, as she had her own suffering (molestation). She was understanding and kind to him. She was another person that taught him love. The removal of his braces as his scoliosis improved allowed him to run. He learned he could run fast. He could run across country if he wanted to and he did. The braces made him strong emotionally in his need to stand up to bullies with the braces and the braces allowed him to run from bullies when they were shaken off. A problem and a solution in one ability. They made him physically strong, when he joined the military, he was great at drills. They provided him a platform of optimism when he taught Elvis to dance with them. They brought Jenny back into his life when she saw him run across the country on the news. With all the difficulties of having the braces as a small child, they provided Forrest with strength, opportunity, friendship and even love as an adult.
So, what could have led a man in to a life of isolation, self-pity and abandonment, Forrest turned into opportunity. From opposition to opportunity.
Slow learning for Forrest made him seem stupid, or an easy target to his bullies. Jenny taught him to read, a reference in love is healing. His learning challenge made Forrest accepting, loving and trusting. Because of his mother’s teaching Forrest really did epitomize “Stupid is as stupid does.” He did not try to prove it wrong, he did not cower and become introverted, or even angry at his lot in life, he simply did not accept it. He just lived his life.
Love- first his mother loved him as she says, “the best she could”. Secondly because of his accepting and forgiving nature…. Jenny in her hour of need came back to him, over and over. He could have been bitter, or said, “I am not a doormat, I am not taking her back.” He never did, even unto her death. Just so we are clear I am not suggesting people in relationships that are rife with addiction and violence, stay there. I am not. You need to get to safety. My point is that Forrest’s demeanor and his ability to deal with opposition allowed him to experience love many of us would reject.
Finally, Forrest experienced meeting President LBJ, playing ping pong in China, having a successful Shrimp business, love, and friendship. Which in my book is a life well lived. What I have learned from reading my clients is that every opposition or problem I see, has an opposite gift. A gift that if learned and accepted can improve your life immeasurably. Opposition in any form is opportunity in disguise.