Some four hundred years before Christ reputedly walked the earth, a Chinese warlord by the name of Sun Tzu came out with some of the wisest sayings known to humanity. To my mind, the best of these was this…
“If you wait by the river long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies float by.”
You can take this literally, he was a warlord after all, but it can also be interpreted as meaning that if you leave people to it, they will wreak damage on themselves without you ever having to lift a finger.
Every now and then I catch sight of the car of someone who both actively and inadvertently caused me a lot of harm in the past and I see its rapid descent from showroom condition that its previous owner kept it in to that of a stock car. The decay of the car mirrors the decay of the person as the chaos of their life does exactly the same to them. For all the grief they caused me all I really have to do is nothing, they are ruining their life perfectly well on their own.
When anything traumatic happens most of us feel the need to do something, to express our grief or upset in some way. I am probably more guilty of this than most, for good or bad, I wear my heart on my sleeve and often make rash decisions and do daft things as a result. What I should do is what Sun Tzu would advocate and that is wait…
Waiting is never easy though, we can turn off neither our thoughts nor our emotions and we cause ourselves a great deal of suffering in the process. Learning to trust that things will work out for the best can be the hardest lesson to learn and I have to admit that I am not quite there yet.
Perhaps one day I will be though and I can take my place by the riverbank and I will be wise enough and calm enough to just wait.