We all face loss sometime in our lives. It might be those loses that shake the very foundation of our world and leave us groping helplessly in the dark; it might be those loses that we accept as a passage of rite in life, those that leave us just a little bit wiser and cautious, or it might be just those daily losses that are so common and insignificant in the grand scheme of things that we barely even notice them at all such as the loss of another day.
However profound or insignificant these losses may be, they all have one thing in common. It is inevitable that even through these losses, past all the grief and turmoil- life will go on. But at the time of grieving, we are unable to see this logic, or rather unwilling to accept the truth that life will continue without it, unaffected and unaltered, just as it did before. And so, in that moment, we allow ourselves the indulgence of forgetting the world outside and drowning ourselves in a fortress of sadness and solitude.
But as everything in nature, the good comes along to maintain this state of limbo, to steady the tilting balance of good against evil in this unreal world. And it is for these moments that we live- it is that momentary glimpse of happiness that makes all the hardships of everyday life feel worthwhile.
This is the cycle of life, it has been so since the beginning of time and truly, it is how it should be. For it is only after surviving the plunge of the fall that the bird can truly rise.
However, it is in the the very attitude with which we embrace the good and the bad wherein our fault lies.
Rudyard Kipling once wrote:
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same”
and by penning these words, he successfully disclosed the pathway to happiness. No, not happiness but rather, he unveiled the path to eternal contentment.
There is a reason Kipling so rightly coined the two as impostors, warning us of their presence and their ability to govern our lives through their subtle ways, for truly, neither is what is seems to be.
Triumph. The sole ambition of every person here today is to be triumphant in his endeavors, be it in the treacherous fields of work, love or even leisure. We all strive and push ourselves ruthlessly, grasping and clawing with our fingernails to capture that contentment we know as Triumph. But it seems as though no matter how hard we may try, the elusive creature always seems to be just beyond our reach. And then, on finally conquering all odds and attaining that much sought after Triumph, we are deluded by the bubble-like security it brings with it and in that moment, we truly believe we are invincible. We get comfortable, complacent, start resting on past laurels and fail to remember that one piece of wisdom that all our parents imparted to us every day of our youth, the wary warning that pride comes before a fall. And what a fall it shall be.
And then there’s Disaster. The one we spend each day trying to evade but which in time we know, will inevitably get the better of us. But see here’s the thing- Disaster is highly misunderstood. It is counted as defeat, a sign of weakness and failure. Wrapped in our web of misery and doubt, in that very moment, we fail to see that looking back, this would be the historical turning point in our lives, the kodak moment that will determine the future. For it is moments like these that tests the character of a man, the very fabric of his soul. That draw the line between the coward and the brave, between the Triumphant and the Defeated.
For it is in that very moment where we make the single most important decision that has the power to govern the rest of our lives- the decision no one can make for us for the answer must come from within. In that moment, amidst the internal turmoil of grief, regret, hatred and doubt, we answer life’s single most hardest question. And this question is whether to give up and stay where you are or to claw your way, inch by excruciating inch out of the abyss of defeat back into the glorious light of success.
And so you have it, the ugly truth covered. The reality remained stripped of all the delusions and lies our minds perceived. If right now you’re confused as how to approach every Triumph and Disaster you are to encounter during your brief sojourn on this inn we call the Earth, well then, Kipling has given us the answer to that as well- Treat those two impostors just the same.