Monday, August 2, 2010

Pandora's Box

“I just feel like I can’t get a break!” My girlfriend was discouraged - she had her fair share of hardships in her 30-someodd years of life. Life felt so unfair (as it often is) and she didn’t want much - just some space to breathe….and be happy.

Have you ever felt crushed under the weight of life--like you are squashed under a heap….one thing….and then another…and….yes….another. Health problems….car problems…..kid problems….love problems…..the faucet breaks….then the toilet…..then you spill your coffee on your white carpet…you get a call from your child’s teacher… you forgot a credit card payment….your X let you down….again….. There have been times in the last five years where no amount of tagalongs, ice cream….or even wine could take the stress away (but oh I have tried!!)….

When it seems the whole universe is against you, how do you hold on? How do you not get trampled under the weight of the world?? I had to ask myself, What keeps me going when I am running on fumes???? The answer is Hope --the hope that my struggles are only for a season….that life will be beautiful again…..I will laugh again….Hope that I will be okay. The hope that an argument with my man is just a disagreement and not a sign…..the hope that my finances will someday improve….the hope that Junior will listen to me and not buy that crazy-fast motorcycle (hey….a woman can hope)….

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a book that mentioned the myth of Pandora. It’s been a while since I’ve studied mythology, so being the expert Googler that I am, I Googled Pandora myth. Now, we have all heard of the term, “Pandora’s Box….” and to the best of my recollection, it seems to be used in terms of opening a can of worms…..but the story of Pandora is way more than one of a foolish girl whose curiosity got the best of her….the story holds the key to coping with all of cruddy stuff life sometimes throws at us….the key to dealing with the unfair, the harsh, the things that beckon us to become bitter.

We have to start with Prometheus…..who saw man shivering down on Earth at night, eating raw meat and generally being miserable. Prometheus felt sorry for men so he arranged for them to have fire. That all seems nice enough…..except that the Gods up on Olympus had forbidden man to have fire as they believed that man would misuse fire and destroy with it. Prometheus knew that men would misuse it, but thought that the good outweighed the bad… he tricked Zeus and smuggled fire from his temple inside a hollow fennel plant (fennel is so versatile). Zeus was livid……absolutely livid that his will could be so blatantly disobeyed, so he sought to punish Prometheus and man.

Zeus called Aphrodite to pose while Hephaestus made a clay figure of a woman. He brought the statue to life and granted her with gifts….beauty, charm, cunning, wit, eloquence, deceit, skill, and curiosity. Zeus gave her an urn and said she was to never open it. Zeus offered Pandora as a wife to Prometheus. Prometheus (a pretty sharp cookie) knew it was a trick and declined…..but his brother (not the sharpest crayon in the box) took Pandora as his wife and they settled down in the countryside in a cute little ancient bungalow with a white picket fence…..and all was well in ancient times….. That is…..until the urn started to call her like an opened package of Oreos in the pantry. I can see her now…..walking up to the urn….walking away…..sitting on the couch….reading a book….walking back to the urn….thinking maybe one quick peek (you know……trying to get away with eating only one of the Oreos in the package)….just a quick peek…..and she opens the lid…..nothing happens for a second or two…..her guard lets down…..and then……all of a sudden….every hardship, every calamity, every evil imaginable rushes out of the urn to run amok on the earth…..toil, greed, illness, trickery, theft, mistrust, disloyalty….murder….pain…. all escaped. Panicked, Pandora tries to close the lid quickly, but her fingers fumble and the calamities are flying out so fast! Finally, she gets the lid secured on the urn……only one evil left in the jar…..hopelessness. Utter hopelessness did not escape - leaving hope as the only defense against the hardships of this world. Hope.

There are times that I do not embrace hope…..that I lose sight of hope….that I wallow in the unfairness of life….in how hard life is sometimes. But then….I see it….the bright light of hope at the end of the tunnel….just a pinpoint of light sometimes. But I know that hope never fails if I entwine myself in its safety….if I refuse to become bitter….if I don’t harden my heart to hope. That is what gets me through - Hope.


Walker said...

Love it, I'm a bit like the Pandora we 'know' .. too curious sometimes.
Enjoyed reading so far, I'm a fellow She Writes!

Becky P said...

:) Me too!! If curiosity killed the cat, it's a good thing that this kitty has 9 lives!

Thank you for reading and for sharing!