Why We All Need A Little Misfortune in our Lives
The End of Suffering
The suffering is over. Neal is woken up in his bed by his wife perplexed and petrified. “Am I dead? Is this heaven or hell?” He asks himself maintaining optimism for his future’s sake.
Neal brushes off the whole incident as a nightmare and goes off his daily life. He brushes his teeth, takes a shower, and drinks coffee. He looks outside, the sun beaming its rays to the glossy window which makes his face glow. “There is no day in his life has the sun ever been this warm.” He proceeds to have a joyful and chatty monologue with himself. Suddenly, a glow from a distance pierces his eyes as he turns and to his great amazement, his car was parked on the driveway looking clean and new.
Before the joy could fill his heart, a call rings from behind and goes to voicemail. “Hello Neal, its Sally. Don’t forget about the presentation today!” On his desk lay a neatly compiled document of the day’s presentation and an hour to spare to the meeting. “I might have slept tired after preparing for the meeting and had a nightmare. It’s good that everything is back to normal.” Neal whispered to himself to not find the vivid occurrence of his lay off, drinking, and death weird.
However, things were not normal. They were better than normal. Abnormal if I may say. Neal and his wife pleasantly chatted on the way and dropped her to work. There was no traffic during the whole route, all the coworkers were always happy to see him and had a cheerful conversation, the sun stayed warm the whole day and the news was always positive.
“The fruitful trade agreements between us and Country X will set us off for a great rest of the year….”
“A 14-year old baby was rescued miraculously from drowning in the Pacific ocean from Ocean Beach…”
Day in day out, this was the norm. Neal was contented that he was fortunate enough to live in a perfect world. He could ask for no more.
Three Months Later
Neal was with his friends celebrating their success in achieving the month’s goal, again, at the Trident. Everyone seemed jovial with grins that Neal could not keep up with.
He took a walk towards the Golden Gate Bridge to get some air and let off something off his chest. He walks up to the railing, sets up his arms for a leap, and measures his trajectory. Truly, the sight of a man suffering.
A man in rags walks up to him with a smile and asks kindly of what he was doing. “Nothing! What are you doing here?” He relays back defensively. He sees that it is the same man from his dreams and stops him from leaving. “This world is perfect. The sun is always warm, war is non-existent, there is no suffering, hunger, war, or pain. By always being exemplary, there are no negative things that make me appreciate the excellent things I have now. For that reason, I have come to jump.”
The man leans into Neal until he is too close to be a safe distance from the railing and pushes him on to the Pacific Ocean. They lock eyes as Neal drops to a dark and peaceful slumber.
Neal wakes up to his normal life with the epiphany that a perfect utopia is an ideal place where people are happy but not always, things are blissful, but has the right amount of suffering that will make us appreciate the good things we have now.
“Suffering is like anything else. Live with it long enough, you learn to like the taste.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom