The art of coping

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


WITH many of us continually subjected to increasing pressures from all kinds of sources—challenges, trials, temptations, consequences of sin, etc.—we really need to know the art of coping if only to survive, at least. The idea is how to keep calm amid all these unavoidable conditions so that we can better handle these situations. Losing our cool would only worsen things.

Perhaps the first thing that we have to do is to truly rev up our faith and trust in God, in his loving and wise providence that actually takes care of everything, especially those things that we cannot handle properly anymore. With a strong and working faith, we can think better and would easily know which aspects of our life need to be addressed.

It could be that we have to have a tighter grip and control over our emotions and passions, especially our anger and fear that can go ballistic and can lead us to over-react to things. Or, more than our passing emotions and passions, it is to do some tweaking on our temperament itself to make it more open to the healthy inputs of our Christian faith.

When we are guided by our faith, we know that while we have to try our best to solve whatever problem and difficulty we have, there will always be things that are beyond our control. In spite of our best efforts, we can still commit mistakes and suffer failures in our tasks and other endeavors.

We should then just be game with the idea of having to suffer whatever there is to suffer, not anymore making a big issue about why we have to suffer. Whether we like it or not, suffering and eventually death are always an integral part of our life here on earth.

But Christ precisely has warned us about this. And he also has reassured us that everything is taken care of. “In this world you will have trouble,” he said. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16,33)

In another instance, Christ recommended us to live a healthy spirit of abandonment in the ways of God. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Mt 6,26-27)

The idea is simply to follow the example of Christ, if not to assume his very mind and his own spirit. In that way, whatever there is for us to suffer, we can manage, we can cope. We would find all these negative things that would hound us in this life possessing a certain beautiful meaning and purpose. With Christ, we would see them as a means for our salvation.

In a certain sense, we should just be accepting of how things are even as we try our best, as we already said before, to be on top of them. We should not worry too much. If ever we have to worry, it should be only for a while. We should not allow it to last long.

By always asking for the grace of God and doing our part, we can make the healthy inputs of our faith animate our emotions, passions and even our temperament itself, so we would know how to cope with any problem in our life.