“I may wish to be free from torture, but if the time comes for me to endure it, I’ll wish to bear it courageously with bravery and honour. Wouldn’t I prefer not to fall into war? But if war does befall me, I’ll wish to carry nobly the wounds, starvation, and other necessities of war. Neither am I so crazy as to desire illness, but if I must suffer illness, I’ll wish to do nothing rash or dishonourable. The point is not to wish for these adversities, but for the virtue that makes adversities bearable.” Seneca, Moral Letters.
We must do what needs to be done to get through the adversities that life brings us, without losing our heads in the process. When a doctor warns you before an injection that ‘this is going to hurt’, you are given permission to be stressed in the short term, but there is an expectation that quickly you’ll notice the discomfort for what it is and adjust your expectations accordingly. Normal service will be resumed.
How apt in our present climate that Seneca should mention not doing anything rash or ‘dishonourable’ when faced with illness. We’ll all get through this if we each keep a calm head. After all, no-one ever said it was going to be easy.