Sunday, January 29, 2012

When we struggle.

This past year has been a tough one for me. I’ll admit it.

Most of the hard things that have happened to me would probably seem like good things to other people.

My daughter got married. My son is studying abroad.

I know these are wonderful events, and I am truly grateful for them. But it was still hard to see my kids leave home and begin new lives.

Some of the hard things that have happened have just been bad.

I’ve been worried about losing my job. I was told that the position would be eliminated. It was off and on again several times. There have been some really horrible days when I wondered if I would be able to provide for my family much longer.

Mixed in with all this, my house was severely damaged in a wind storm in December. We’ve been struggling with our Insurance provided to agree upon proper repairs.

So there have been great moments of happiness, and horrible moments of worry and despair.

I’ve been amazed each time I’ve been lifted from my despair by someone I least expected to be thinking of me. Something as simple as telling me that they know that I’ve been struggling and that they are thinking of me. Sometimes someone has actually reached out with a useable idea, or even come to my house to physically help me work on a problem. I now know that I’ve misjudged many people in my life.

Forgiveness brings about personal progress. When we convince ourselves that we are alone, and that everyone else is against us, we stifle our own progress. None of us can truly be happy alone. We reach our happiest peaks, and our most delicious successes, through and with the cooperation of others.

Surviving hard times makes happy and successful times that much better. Hard times also help us see the way toward success more clearly. But this clarity is only available to us if we are honest about the reasons for our suffering, and if we’re willing to let them go.

That’s why we talk about all this, that’s why we share.

1 comment:

  1. We find grace in unexpected places. When I was 16 years old and had my first car, I was driving home late at night and got a flat tire. I lived way the hell out in the country and it was completely dark as there was no artificial light. It never occurred to me until that moment that I had no idea how to change a tire. Out of nowhere, there was a knock on my window. This guy who looked vaguely familiar was walking down the road and saw my problem and offered to help. As he was changing my tire for me, showing me what to do as we went along, I recognized him as someone from school who had dropped out in about 10th grade. He was a "loser" as far as I had thought before and certainly one of the rougher crowd. I had been careful to keep away from him and his friends when he was still at school. I was so surprised to see he had this kind, charitable side. I said, "Mike?" He looked surprised and said, "I thought I recognized you from school!" We talked for a bit and I thanked him profusely for helping me. I drove away with a new opinion about the guy I had dismissed previously. I'm not saying he was a saint, but I think we have the tendency to write people off too quickly.

    It's easy to do nice things for the people we already like, and think well of those people. Did you know that studies have proven that it works the opposite way? When we do nice things for people, we begin to see them in a more positive light. It's called the "Benjamin Franklin Effect." Read more about it here: