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Immerse Week 31 – Bad and Good

Good and bad depend on context.

Dear friend,

Despite my unflinching commitment to honor life, as a physician, I have witnessed untold agony where death seemed the preferred alternative. Severe pain or unremitting nausea unresponsive to the strongest medications in a patient with terminal cancer is difficult to watch. I and the patient’s loved ones have sometimes been relieved with the liberation. What most would consider an undesirable option (death) can occasion relief, depending on what preceded it. Good and bad aren’t absolute; they are relative to the unique context.

What I seek this moment depends on the context. I seek cool shade in summers and hot chocolate in winters. Depending on the rest of my cards, the jack of spades may be worth nothing or may win me the hand.

Further, with the infinite possibilities that each moment hides, good and bad coexist—in each experience. What seems good in the near term may become hurtful with the passage of time. The human mind can’t discern the eventual impact of any event—the known and the unknown are too many, and how they will eventually interact is beyond anyone’s comprehension.

Despite knowing all of this at an intellectual level, I can’t shed my tendency to categorize events as either good or bad. I am forever seeking the pleasant (which my mind assumes is good) and evading the unpleasant (which my mind assumes is bad).

I accept defeat, for my mind can’t escape the duality of good and bad. Instead, while I continue to seek the good and the pleasant, I accept that my inbox will always have some unpleasant that is bad. Over time, I might be able to sift them. I might be able to send the unpleasant that is bad into the recycle bin. That time, however, hasn’t arrived yet.

I don’t crave the bad, but I can choose to be grateful that my bad isn’t as bad as it could have been. Also I can keep the hope that the bad might turn into good in the blink of an eye. Gratitude and hope help me accept the bad. The bad that is shamed and fought can become toxic. My humble hope is that the bad that is accepted, and reminded of its potential for good, will turn into good.

May your hope for a better future and gratitude for the good within the bad help you accept and transform the bad.

Take care.

@AmitSoodMD (on Twitter)

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