Your Life Is Not About You

What do you do when faced with a personal tragedy or a life-altering situation?

You may be surprised by your own reaction.

Some of us would go into our own ‘caves’ and shut out the rest of humanity, including our friends and family members. That is how we try to take care of our own problems – alone and by ourselves. And that is how we try to show our courage in the face of adversity. We do not want to be a burden to others. We are also afraid of what others may say about our situation.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who actively seek help. Sure, talking to others may not solve our problems, but they may help us see our situation in a different light. That was what Sheryl experienced with a group of strangers in an online session hosted by the Institute of Mental Health. She shared, “It felt good to have people to commiserate with, and listening to others’ problems gives you a different perspective to your own.”

So, should you reach out for help from others?

The short answer is yes, you should!

Last week, I was blessed to have the chance to listen to a segment of one of “Let’s Talk with Fr. Luke Fong” video series. What struck me was his sharing that we are “robbing” the Church of the sanctifying grace of our suffering when we do not share it with our community.

He further added that our lives are not about us. Our suffering is a chance for others in our community to act out their identities as Christians – to love their brothers and sisters.

I have experienced this first-hand.

When my wife was diagnosed with cancer, her health took a nosedive. One moment, she was healthy and jogging every day. And the next, she was bedridden with pain and taking strong sedatives to help fall asleep.

On my part, I felt like a spectator watching a fast-paced drama where bad situations come one after the other, and I could do nothing.

One of the best decisions I made was to call a brother in my community, Couples for Christ, to inform him of my wife’s situation. That started an avalanche of love and blessings from the Lord, through the brothers and sisters coming to help at our home, praying together for my wife’s recovery, and the list goes on and on.

The cancer took its toll. My wife is still enduring the medical regimen and physical discomforts those medicines bring. Our lives will never be the same. But then again, our lives are not about us.

Related Story

  • Mental well-being during COVID-19: The rise of intimate sharing sessions with strangers (Channel News Asia, 21 May 2020)

Manolo L. Fetalvero is a husband, father of three boys, and the IT Manager of Caritas Singapore. He loves listening to classical music and sings R&B songs. His favourite singers are Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.