Given the unpredictability of the lives we all live, perhaps the most difficult task we will ever face is converting theory into practice.
We think we know, but proof comes through testing. We believe we understand until we are challenged.
Even the most organised among us will be sucker-punched from time to time because of the random nature of our surroundings.
Grand plans can be reduced to rubble in an instant. It's what we do next that is of vital importance.
The immediate reaction to a shock, a tragedy or a setback is a mixture of the emotional and the practical.
Both are important. Both will lead us back to a state of equilibrium, balance and clarity. But it will take time and effort.
A setback does not have to become a defeat; a disappointment an attitude; a sadness a depression. While it may be a struggle to regain control the effort becomes its own reward.
Preparation is important. Naivety makes for a very poor excuse. Expecting the unexpected can become all-consuming and rob us of the pleasure of life.
We should recognise and avoid extremes while accepting the inevitability of the unpleasant surprise.
We are not alone. No-one makes it through life unscathed, but it is possible to remain intact.
Battered and bruised is not beaten.
The better we know ourselves the more prepared we are.
- Gary Bentley is a Rural Aid counsellor.
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