Whilst working in the Congo , my company was approached by an advertising company. The advertising company went through a somewhat broad presentation explaining the market we were working with. The presenter coined the word “Escapism” and told us how there were two aspects of life that were part of almost every person’s life and were effective. One was the Church and the other was Music.
He explained how both of these created an “escape” for the people; a people who were mostly struggling on a day-to-day basis. Music provided what I believe is a temporary escape, in the sense that when one was is listening to an upbeat song, gets caught up in the dancing, for that period of time a person’s problems seem to disappear. This analogy could also be said to be relevant to Television shows or movies as they do provide that temporary relief to the heart. Yet I have always found that these means simply seem to be a band aid on a wound and not really a cure to it. It is pushing the problem to a later time.
The Church on the other hand , while it was also labeled an escape, would involve admitting the difficulties in one’s lives and trying one’s best to overcome them and praying to a higher being for strength to get through the difficulties. While it was labeled an escape,it is a different kind of escape, if one is not running away but admitting then is it an escape? Is it not more as a man standing firm , admitting that there are shortcomings in his life and facing his difficulties by bowing down and asking for help. Initially, it is much harder to sit and pray rather than switch on the radio or watch a movie because the praying actually involves admitting that things aren’t working out according to plan. That one is not as capable as one may have thought. It involves the dissolution of the ego. It involves letting go and asking for help. Once the deed is done though, and the walls that protect the heart are brought down one realizes that it is the only truly safe place. It is the place where the heart can speak clearly and does not have to be held tightly so as emotion does not slip up. It is ok to be emotional with God. I find that amongst the less fortunate, they are more-often than not in this state. This, I find is more of a step towards a cure as even though initially it is much more painful it is like going into saltwater when one is cut. It hurts at first but slowly a strength does come from within and soothes it. One is no longer in denial but acceptance.
I feel like nature teaches me the same things. As winter fast approaches Toronto, I watch the trees. Every year, the trees know the winter is coming. Every winter, the leaves fall off, and a tree practically dies. Yet every spring it is literally brought back to life. Maybe we should learn from the tree who does not run away from its winter but stands firm and is rooted deep within the ground. We know that every year will bring struggles but with roots firmly planted and a bit of faith the spring will come too.