Counselor's Corner: Confussion and Consolation


By Fred Cavaiani

Confusion and Consolation are two words that describe  the world  today.  Plagues and epidemics have been present in every century. Everyone is touched by grief. Confusion and pain become part of everyday life.  The desire for consolation becomes almost overwhelming.  Today we probably experience this more than ever before.

We need one another.  My actions or lack of action can either help someone or harm someone.  I bring consolation to another person when I treat that person with love and respect.  In a time of a world pandemic which happens a number of times in every century, we can become aware of how much we need consolation and help from each other.

I must treat everyone with love and respect.  This means that I cannot minimize how I can either be helpful or harmful to another person.  I am harmful to another person if I minimize my influence on other people.  I lam helpful to another person when I realize that my  words and actions can have a positive influence.  If I become judgmental and condemning toward others, I help no one.  Pandemics bring this principle of compassion right in front of our eyes.

Life is very short.  People die every day from serious diseases, from accidents,  violence, guns, and from the pandemic. But every day I can also be compassionate and consoling toward those I come into contact with.  Love and consolation for others disarms people.  

This worldwide pandemic puts death in front of everyone. It also vividly reminds us of the shortness of life.  So, what brings peace and consolation between birth and death.

The greatest consolation is the result of being loving and kind toward everyone, especially those who are present to us each day.  To have an attitude of LOVE disarms me and disarms you.  I need you and you need me to be kind and loving toward each other. The secret of a happy and consoling life is not to wait for you to love me but to show love  toward you regardless of how you act or talk.  

Life will always be consoling when I am loving. Life will always be confusing when I am condemning and judgmental.  To be loving is to open my heart and mind to a deeper experience of God.  

Pandemics create an awareness of depth.  They also cause a realization that we are all on the same journey and need compassion and respect for each other. I am overwhelmed with the realization that  no matter how you treat me, I will still treat you with love and compassion. It dispels confusion inside of me and  helps me to see life clearly.  It helps me to experience God when I am loving. And most importantly, I don’t have to go through life focusing on how other people must change for me to be happy. Only I have to change for me to be happy. This change is so simple: Be more loving toward everyone.  Take time to be quiet and reflective with God.  These two principles will always help me to embrace whatever comes my way.  What will always be coming my way is both joy and pain, consolation and loss.  But the constant in life must always be LOVE.  This is what everyone seeks. This is what everyone wants.

When I connect with another person in a loving manner, I experience LOVE.  When I am critical and condemning towards others, I experience confusion and misery.  Pandemics and pain can bring out the best in a person or the worst in a person.  I must make sure that whatever happens to me in life will bring out the best in me.  The best in me is to embrace my brokenness, helplessness and pain. This opens me to embracing and desiring God and it opens me  to be more loving toward others.  Anger and resentments block me from experiencing the joy of LOVE.  

I have found myself living in the present moment more profoundly during this last year and a half of the Covid epidemic.  I only have this moment to live in LOVE and this moment to experience GOD.  This moment clears my confusion and gives me consolation.  This moment is a moment of Love and a moment of God.  It becomes refreshing and such a freedom to give up condemning and judging others and worrying about how I think others should be.  

I had the occasion to meet a lifelong friend For dinner last Saturday. My wife who had a serious surgery a week and a half ago is now healing well and encouraged me to go to dinner with this friend. He and I have known each other since we were fourteen, we have a tradition of many  years of getting together on our birthdays: his in August and mine in September.  Such a kind act by my wife and such a kind act by my good friend.  So,there we were, two old men sitting in an Italian restaurant sharing with each other our journey in life and reminiscing about all the people we have known, many of whom have passed on to the next life. This friend was best man at our wedding and Godfather to our first born.  It was a most inspiring time of sharing.  Again, I was reminded of the importance of kindness and love reducing confusion and making life simple and clear: Be more loving and experience God in a deeper manner.  

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