For the last few months, I have been watching a Korean television series, Jumong, with my dear friend, Nick. We are on episode 68 of 81 and the hero, Jumong, has experienced terrible trials and tribulations, very much like the biblical figure, Job. Unlike Job, Jumong’s reaction is not to harangue God or to play the victim, but rather to try to find a positive meaning. By looking for the lesson he is being taught, he turns the experience around and finds a solution to the impossible situation he’s in. I wondered aloud if Job had taken a similar outlook, could his suffering have stopped sooner?
One of the purposes of drama beyond entertainment is to provide a catharsis, a vicarious release of emotions by watching imaginary characters in a play go through difficult life experiences, and Nick pointed out that the literal meaning of the word, catharsis, was “ learning through suffering.”
I am always intrigued when life imitates art, and found myself trying to think like Jumong earlier today.After visiting my mother, I found myself posting on Facebook to my many friends:
“My mother is terribly ill, and as a result, I have been spending more time with her than I have since childhood. I have resolved my issues with her – or so I thought, but today when I came by, Mom gave me a piercing, not very friendly look, and for a moment my soul just withered — I have always gotten both her love and her hatred in alternating cycles. It was literally the story of my life replaying itself in a moment — the endless anxiety: will I be on the A-list or the poop list today? What am I supposed to learn?”
One of my wonderful friends answered: “I think you are supposed to learn that her moods and her ways are about her, not you. You are always loved and loveable regardless of the attitudes of those around you.”
I was so grateful – this new friend really set me straight, and I felt a great weight lift off me.Thank you, dear Ms. A — lesson learned!