I have been reading this series of cosy mysteries set in the Cotswolds, UK, with Agatha Raisin, a fifty-year-old prickly woman, as the main character. I recommended this series to my father-in-law, and forty pages in it, he told me, ‘ She is not a nice person.’ I responded that she would grow on you, and he is on to the third book now.

She had a hard upbringing in Birmingham but became a public relations professional in London. And she decided to retire and live in the Cotswolds without ever being there. Once there, she gets embroiled in these mysteries and does not get along with the people. She is addicted to falling in love and danger. I sympathised with her despite her jealous flaws and negative thoughts about other folks. We all have shades of it, which I found endearing. She is struggling with the same thing I have at times.

Pay attention to the cracks, because that’s where the light gets in

When she falls in love with somebody, she has already decided where they will get married. She will try out dozens of outfits and commit to losing weight. And when everything crashes, she gives it all up. However she tries, she cannot give up pursuing her neighbour, James Lacey – even though she knows he is not suitable for her. Her dear friends have tried to tell her that as well. But, the heart wants what it wants, or love is blind, as they say. Or, Agatha’s story of life with James is so much more exciting that she is willing to overlook reality. James is unemotionally unavailable, but Agatha still keeps expecting him to change. She tries to punish him for making her feel that way, but he does not get it. And she goes through ups and downs in her relationship with him. She declines an invitation to a tip with him and immediately regrets it – and goes back and forth on what to do next. But, she is excellent at her work – Public Relations and even detecting.

All of us can relate to some part of it. Her humanness is very comforting. My mentor at work reminded me of serenity prayer – 

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.” 

The biggest question is how to gain the wisdom to know the difference. You can only do this by trying to change things and realising whether they will work or are worth it. Every situation is different, so you must go through the same cycle every time. And once in a while, the universe will send reminders for the prayer in the first place. 

When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has found.

First, you will need to realise you are trying to change things. And then you are so much invested in changing things that you don’t want to accept defeat. After getting hurt and defeated, it will dawn on you that it won’t work – even then, you will try again and again. Finally, you have had enough, and you decide to accept the situation as is – and that’s when the wisdom arrives when you shift to what you can do to make the current situation work for you. For example, if you have to work with somebody who cannot connect with you, you must find a personal connection somewhere else. But, if you keep expecting the person who has spent their entire life that way to change in months, it is like asking a cat to bark. On paper, this sounds very normal, but to accept it in real life is hard – because you have invested yourself, based your dreams, and harvested happiness already based on the change you want. And there is the sadness of what you wish not to happen – which is the definition of suffering.

But that is how wisdom comes in sometimes—through the suffering. First, there is a tussle where you are still trying to change the situation, knowing it won’t work. Then you make peace with it—find it exciting—and at some point, you will find yourself laughing. And you know you have arrived. Are you in a similar situation right now?

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