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Invisible Challenges

People who see Nic Vujicic for the first time are amazed that he can do anything at all. Born with no arms and no legs, Nick can do things that you could not imagine would be possible. He can swim, drive a boat, golf, and when he is not having a lot of fun doing those things, he travels around the world as a motivational speaker. A few years ago, he fulfilled a long-time dream by getting married, something that he hoped would happen, but was well aware that the odds were against it. What is amazing is that, with such profound disabilities, Nick is able to do things that many able-bodied people are not able to do. When we look at Nic we are flabbergasted at what he is able to accomplish. Because we can clearly see his disabilities, we have some concept of how difficult his challenges are.

However, I have realized that many people have internal disabilities as profound as Nick’s external disabilities are, yet we can’t see them. They are emotional, psychological or spiritual and therefore invisible to the eye. We have no way to know the depth of invisible challenges many people face. It is easy for us to wonder why these people are not more capable or competent at dealing with life. I think most of us have one or more people in our life whom we wonder that about, and certainly we see people in the news everyday that cause us to shake our head in disbelief at their behavior.

In spiritual circles, we talk about the importance of not judging, yet there are lots of things we consciously or unconsciously place outside that category because we just can’t imagine that this person could not know better than to behave in certain ways. However, A Course in Miracles states that there are only ever two things going on: expressions of love or cries for love. ACIM says There are only fear and love, and you are in one or you are in the other. It’s not easy to see the horrific things going on in the world as cries for love based in fear, but, if you are in the dark for long enough, a level of desperation can take hold which is unimaginable to people who have not experienced that depth of darkness. Understanding that may help us to consider a different way of looking at evil.

As hard as it is, if we are able to see all the evil in the world as a cry for love, we will be able to deal with it in a different way. This different way does not have to do with fighting back, but rather with approaching everything from a place of love, to see with loving eyes, so that when there is a cry for love that looks to us like evil, we meet it from a place of love inside of us.

This doesn’t mean that we throw our arms around the next murderer we see, although that would probably be a loving thing to do if we could do it sincerely, but most of us are not there. However, we can have the intention to deal with the difficult behavior in a loving way, so that we set boundaries with love rather than anger. We can say that we don’t accept the behavior and there will be consequences for it, but we don’t have to do this from a place of anger, disgust or righteousness. If this person’s behavior is coming from a place of deep fear inside which is being acted out externally as violence, the root of the problem may be the same root that causes another person to become extremely withdrawn. The behavior may look completely different, but if the root is the same, it’s possible that the solution may be the same.

When we can understand difficult behaviors as coming from this common denominator of the agony of an absence of love, we will tend to soften in our understanding and our approach. That alone can make a huge difference. All parties involved can feel that softened point of view so that healing can happen. Even though it will be unconscious, it can have a powerful impact.

So the next time you are faced with unthinkable acts, consider that terror may be at the root, and see if you can find some compassion in yourself for a depth of terror which you may have never experienced, or even imagined.

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