“No good deed goes unpunished.” ~ Oscar Wilde
A wicked quote to be sure, but it strikes a familiar chord, doesn’t it…
And to answer the question about reaping and sowing…yes we do. I’m not sure about always always, but one of the reasons it often doesn’t seem like it has to do with the confusion between accuracy and fairness.
It certainly isn’t fair to end up harshly shaken and crushed when we generously and passionately give love, compassion, support, trust, and similar. But, we are here to learn. And sadly, good deeds are not spared harshness in the lesson.
It sucks. Because it’s excruciatingly hard to make it through such extreme challenges as we sometimes end up with, where after having truly given our everything, and beautifully…to a person, to a project…we end up in a mess. And yes, because we have to put up the fight of our lives for every moment of progress onto wellness, we turn to the words about reaping what we sow and wonder what the hell happened! How did we deserve this!
Well, as any parent will know, raising children most lovingly but without boundaries doesn’t work out very well. It’s the same thing with any investment of love, time and energy in life. Without boundaries, we end up creating little monsters. And learning about boundaries, having the courage and strength to enforce them is not knowledge we’re born with. Some learn quickly and early on…some end up learning the hard way.
It’s sad how often we see the most loving and generous people suffering greatly because they loved too much and gave too much. But, it’s how life works. If you don’t draw some lines that are not to be crossed, and guard them well, you’ll be mercilessly trampled despite all your loving goodness.
To make matters worse, it often seems that others get to reap a bountiful harvest without merit. It may appear on the surface that fate favors some with a rather carefree existence, with enjoyable distractions and every other kind of reward, including some measure of popularity, wealth and power. Here we are, struggling like mad to recover from a horrible experience because we loved too much and gave too freely, and the selfish bastard next door goes around without a care in the world. It’s not only infuriating…it’s terribly discouraging.
But, we must not despair. If we look to use even the worst setbacks as opportunities (hard to do at first, but doable over time), although the price we pay may be awfully high, through the darkest of journeys we can find authenticity and true strength…we can emerge cleaner, more confident. We can learn much about ourselves and others that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Because of an honest struggle, we can also reach a much deeper level of compassion, love and gratitude. And that is quite the harvest.
The bastards next door who stagnate and go through life looking out for themselves alone, using or hurting others without hesitation, choosing to live without much of a conscience, responsibility, courage, integrity or honesty are not favored by anything. These people build and live among props. They themselves are props in their own lives and may not ever notice, or ever have a chance to experience what it’s like to truly be alive and be a part of something real and beautiful…something of genuine value.
I know that in very difficult times, all this offers too little consolation. We would sometimes trade our pain and struggle for some of the perks others seem to enjoy, as superficial as they are…because the pain really hurts, and the struggle seems to go on forever.
But…things do get better and easier…and there is a rainbow waiting to come out at the end of a great storm.
Not to mention we have Søren’s quote below to consider. No pain or genuine struggle can ever be as bad as ending up the most unhappy man/woman of all…unable to love, unable to reveal himself/herself. As long as we don’t end up like that, any harvest, even one earned with too many tears…even one far more modest than expected or perhaps due, is a blessing.
“Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? I have seen men in real life who so long deceived others that at last their true nature could not reveal itself;… In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard