From my journal entry, September 22nd:
“Felt like giving up today, being tormented and defeated by three miserable ailments simultaneously…” [This in addition to several other kinds of bad stuff that had been getting me down at the same time, which I’d journaled about in previous entries. I really did feel totally defeated. I’d felt, in fact, like Job, and had told God so.]
But this journal entry continues,
“…Then I opened up one of the fortune cookies from last night’s take-out. The ‘fortune’-ate advice inside said, “Despair is criminal.”
Whoah! That was like a slap in the face!
I was just poised to rant at the slip of paper about kicking a person when she’s down, but something checked me. I stopped and reconsidered, and I decided, “Yes, I guess it is!”
I wrote this reply in tiny letters under the printed words already there on the little slip. Later I even decorated the message, small as it was, with autumnal leaves and fruit, pasted it onto my journal page, and added these words: “It’s a criminal act against our own selves.” And at the bottom of the journal page I went on,
“So heads up! I went and got soothed by good music online, a quiet place to rest, and sleep—lots of sleep.”
I realize a lot hinges on how the reader responds to such a “fortune.” A message like the one I got could make a horrible day unbearable. At a particularly bad time, it could even push a person right over the edge. [If that’s where you find yourself right now as you read, please, PLEASE, click this link and call the number on it immediately.]
But sometimes we just need a sharp reality check. Life was not that bad right then (as bad as Job’s anyhow), and when I did a mindset shift, the whole evening got better.
So there’s our first bit of “found wisdom”—“Despair is a crime.” (Against ourselves.)
HOWEVER… During the same time period, amid the same bad stuff and defeated feelings, I had read something else surprising about despair, and quite different from Fortune Cookie’s take on it: This other source spoke of despair positively, as a starting place! That will be tomorrow’s bit of found wisdom.