In this week’s Twilight Zone episode we meet Rocky Valentine, a criminal, who after robbing a pawn shop is shot and killed by police. Strangely, after getting shot, Rocky wakes up to find a man dressed in white standing by his side. Pip, the man in white, explains to Rocky that he is his guide and is to give Rocky all he desires. Rocky finds himself in a beautiful spacious apartment, all the money he can image, all the women he desires, all the food and drink he can consume, and all of his wishes come true to include winning all gambling bets. In the beginning this is exciting for Rocky, but as time wears on, he becomes bored and wants more. When he asks Pip what he did to deserve being in heaven, that he know longer wants to be here, and desires to go to the other place (hell), Pip’s only response is “what makes you think this is heaven”.
Why is it that hell in this Twilight Zone episode is depicted as everything you could desire? Isn’t that what heaven is supposed to be? If you believe in heaven, isn’t that how we are rewarded, by receiving all we dream and desire?
What Rocky realizes too late is what makes life worth living is the struggle, it’s the not knowing, it’s not having any guarantees, and it is earning what you desire, not just being handed everything. Life is hard. We have struggle, pain, uncertainty, and chaos but we also have celebration, joy, love, growth, and connection. Could we truly appreciate the beauty of all that is wonderful in life if we didn’t have some of the pain, sorrow, struggle and defeat?
I believe when people talk about balance, they are not talking about the balance between all the responsibilities in their life; family, work, school, finances, etc. They are talking about the balance between struggle and celebration. People can handle the negative in life if and when there is enough positive to balance it out. We already know life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but that mere fact is what makes us enjoy the sunshine and rainbows. Knowing that what we love, desire, and cherish can very easily be taken from us is what makes us enjoy what we have when we have it.
The lesson in this episode is to enjoy what you have when you have it, even if it is struggle. Struggle creates growth and growth creates learning which begets gratitude. It is through the growth that we become better people. Without struggle, we would become complacent, stagnate, bored, and ungrateful. When we struggle we get a glimpse of what could be if we don’t take the time to appreciate, grow, be gracious, and learn. Is it through struggle that we truly appreciate all that is good in our lives. So next time you are faced with struggle, instead of being negative, think positively that this struggle is present to show you how strong you are, what you are capable of accomplishing, and highlight all that is good in your life.