Crying tears of joy and tears of pain
My mate occasionally is brought to tears by wildlife and wildflowers. The beauty of nature and her appreciation for being a part of that wild experience gives her pleasure to the point of weeping.My most frequent reason for crying in the backcountry is falling off my mountain bike – or skiing over a sapling and having it spring back to hit me in the groin.But unlike my mate, I am occasionally brought to tears by the lyrics of Bob Dylan and Greg Brown. I can only deduce that she sees and hear things differently than I do. It is also my contention that every human, hears, sees and feels life profoundly differently. Just like a wildflower probably looks more beautiful to my wife than it does to me – life, its joys and demons, are felt by no two people exactly the same. Some humans are blessed with a brain and chemistry that allows them to live with various degrees of happiness and contentment; some people kill themselves just to stop the pain.Last week, a man that I’ve known for almost 20 years took his own life. We weren’t close enough for me to even guess what he was thinking and I would suggest even those closest to him can only imagine. But whether nature can bring you to tears, or emotional pain causes you to question the value of your own life, it’s more a genetic crap shoot than a matter of moral fiber. My Buddhits buddy Michael told me suicide confuses the death experience. In other words, when your soul/spirit (my words) moves from one life to the next (say Paris Hilton to a dung beetle), if you have ended your own life it muddies the waters of the transformation. As a Catholic I was taught a more cut-and-dried position on taking ones own life: If you kill yourself, you can’t go to heaven.It is my belief that, if you are in enough physical or emotional pain to do yourself grave bodily harm, you are less concerned about what the Pope or the Dali Lama says than you are about stopping the torment. Last year, five people in my small town took there own lives. Though none of us can ever know exactly how they felt pain, saw flowers or heard music, it is safe to say that it brought them little joy. By the same token, we all have many friends and family who have difficulty experiencing the joys many of us take for granted. Do they find it unbearable to the point that they cannot endure it any longer? No, but they find it nearly impossible to find happiness, love and contentment. And I’ll say it again, it is not their fault.I’m convinced that many of the conditions that we often attribute to a weakness of character: obesity, depression, addictions, even selfishness, is more a case of nature and nurture than personality flaws. Yes, there is free will, yet I believe that we all have a strong predisposition to behave in a certain way.According to the shrinks who do this for a living, medical and psychological care and counseling have had moderate successes in dealing with depression, addiction and suicidal tendencies. Unfortunately, since there is such a stigma attached to emotional disorders, many can’t or won’t ask for help until it is too late. So often, our joys and miseries are not earned or deserved but more a result of a genetic hand of cards we were dealt. It is important to remember, while being appreciative of your own happiness, to realize that for many, through no fault of their own, find contentment far more elusive. We all see the world differently – some of us are brought to tears by nature’s beauty, some by personal demons, others by a sapling to the groin. We should all be envious of the first, understanding of the second and provided an ice pack for the third. Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America can be seen on RSN TV, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com.Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com.Vail, Colorado
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