All is Well

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I wonder about the limits to “All is well.”  Can we say that about wars, about sexual violence, about destruction of Mother Earth, the possible extinction of everything bigger than a cockroach? I’ve struggled with those fears for 30 years. All is Well is helping me realize that what seems like the end of the world may be just another step in an endless path.

After all, the world has ended many times before. Hindus and many others share that belief. We know from science that asteroid collisions have wiped out most species in the past, and before that rising oxygen levels killed off nearly all the non-breather organisms, which was almost everybody alive. So for them, like for the dinosaurs, the world ended. But life kept going.

Cultures and populations have died off or been destroyed by invading armies or hydrogen bomb tests; the end of the world for them. Yet life continues.

And unlike the H-bomb tests, there is really nobody to blame for global warming. Or there are so many millions to blame that it becomes pointless. People developed technology to give themselves better lives. They didn’t know the consequences of runaway growth.

The indigenous people have a right to complain. They tried to warn us about damaging our Earth Mother, but due to technology, most people’s life expectancy, health, perceived quality of life, wealth and happiness were going up. Could they really be expected to worry about the seventh generation ahead, when so many things seemed to be improving?

It’s also true that there are other planets. Even if life on Earth were to totally disappear, life would continue to exist in a million million places around the universe. Our spirits might get there eventually, if you believe we have spirit. Even if you don’t, others will take up where we left off.  And time has no meaning when you are dead. So, even if you have to take a very long view to see it, I still believe all is well.

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18 Responses to All is Well

  1. cesar love says:

    nice story and thoughts.

  2. blaze says:

    What a great post! I love this sentiment. I am always vigilant about believing that things happen for a reason and that things will eventually work themselves out. It gives me a strong sense of calm and peace. Life has proven to me repeatedly that indeed things really do work themselves out so it lets me be a lot less stressed about life’s hiccups when I run into them. Wishing you peace. It really is “all good”.

  3. Emily says:

    I love this piece, David!! Full of thoughtful and thought-provoking insights. I’m going to try the mantra “all is well” for a while and see what t does for me 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. Roger Eaton says:

    There must be some way of dealing well with negatives without being so positive about it. (;-)

  5. Esther Roberts says:

    David, I often cry when I read your pieces. There is nothing maudlin or weak about them. Rather you cut incisively through the layers to what connects us as people, our fears and vulnerabilities and our spirits (transcendent as they are.) It makes me look into my own fears and feel less frightened by that process (if that makes sense?)

    I also cry when I read of hardships that you have endured, even though you invariably are looking for that “silver lining.” I draw strength from your reflective search and process through very difficult times. Thank you so much for sharing this metaphor and what you guys are experiencing. I hope so much that the situation eases soon.

  6. Linda Martin says:

    I am so sorry you are having these trials of living with hateful people. You are a good and caring soul trying to live in peace with everyone. That can be very stressful, as you have discovered, to your health. I lived through a time like that and it hurt me much. Now I am away from all that and was much better for several years. But I really needed to read your piece today because I am in a stressful job situation. I need the reminder that “this too will pass.” If I let myself dwell on the future and what may or may not happen I would be a basket case. I do have my Christian faith to help me get through each day. James says to “count it all joy” when facing trials and tribulations. So I can say it is well with my soul. Thanks for sharing your story and may you soon have peace and good health.

  7. Tammy says:

    I really like this story. If viewed too simplistically, it sounds polly-anna. But I relate to it, even though I feel more often than not that I cannot acheive that enlightened state. I can intellectualize what’s “important” and tell myself it will all be “alright,” but emotions and anxiety easily win over. It’s a life-long struggle, one I plan to keep on chipping away on. Sometimes I can say it and feel it at the same time–and truly, that’s a nice state to be in. Perhaps it’s not realitic to live there all the time.

    • David Spero RN says:

      Tammy, that is a wise comment. “Perhaps it’s not realitic to live there all the time.” I think with practice it becomes easier. I also think knowing all is well is meaningless if it cuts you off from having compassion for those who are suffering and from helping them when we can.

  8. kris says:

    beautifully written article. a much needed reminder for all of us when life gets complicated 🙂

  9. Deb says:

    Loved this story (not the part with the nasty people). Reminds me of one of my very favorite quotes from Julian of Norwich, a 14th century anchoress in Norwich, England, who became famous throughout Europe for her writings. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

  10. ejp says:

    Aren’t you and Aisha incredibly strong and generous people!

  11. Janet says:

    Thanks David. I really appreciate your message. I hope your roommate craziness resolves soon. Then life will not only be well, it’ll be better!! Big hugs to you.

  12. Dave Brast says:

    You can’t argue with 120/75. If “All is well” did that, it would be enough.

    All is well, David.

  13. Pat Gray says:

    I don’t know that things are all well or that they will be. So much is wrong in our society today and the future looks bad. There is a problem in my family with drinking. I have been going to Alanon meetings to help to deal with the situation– but I just can’t agree to leave it alone because there is nothing I can do. Well, I want to change things. I want things to be well and fear that not doing something to change things will allow things to get worse. I want us all to have a better life. I want us all to have good health.

    I do have to pay attention to the good things or I would crack up in despair. Life is pretty complicated. It is hard for me to stay positive and paying attention to the good does help me to carry on in my effort to make things better for us all.

    • David Spero RN says:

      Pat, I guess this is what Reinhold Niebuhr meant in the serenity prayer about changing what you can change, accepting what you can’t, and having the wisdom to know the difference. AlAnon teaches that other people’s alcoholism is something you cannot change. I’m glad you remember to appreciate the positive things. Otherwise, life gets grim.

  14. Nurse Tim of The Yukon says:

    Greetings David, fellow traveler through life. You know, I’ve been spending a lot of time out in the wilderness of the soul, getting beat up by the cares of this life and all its challenges, and once in a while, when I come in to the rare oasis to share a drink of cool water and get refreshed with other fellow travelers before we head out again , it makes me realize that we are not alone in our common quest. Your story caught my attention out on the horizon, and brought me in for a bit of refreshment- thanks, dear friend.

    What I rejoice in, in reading your story, is that you saw opportunity in your adversity ,and therein lies the victory! So many times, we get caught up in the outward appearance of the particular trial we are facing, and focus on the suffering and injustice of the matter, which leads to bitterness and defeat. Whereas, in your case, you, in your weakness, were able to look past the mountain of intimidation before you and say to it, “peace, be still” and embrace the positive, even under negative circumstances, to claim that victory. I rejoice with you, dear friend- you have discovered that you have tools not of this world, not made by human hands, powerful indeed. I will go back out into the wilderness with a song in my heart that you gave me: Be encouraged,Love overcomes!

  15. Kim says:

    Nice piece, David. You turned your hellish situation (my words, not yours) into a learning experience with endurance. My mom used to always say “All is well,” and despite some incredibly rough patches in her life, she always came back to this. Love abides.

  16. Angie Espinoza says:

    Hello David, Thank you for all your inspiring stories. You became my inspiration years ago when you had your book signing @ the Y and shared and thanked your “water running buddies” for saving your life. I have told that story to hundreds of friends and family and once they hear it their response generally is something like, “WOW–I don’t really have a problem”. My sincere empathy to you and Aisha. God Bless. ALL IS WELL. Angie

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