livinglifefully.com

February 21


We win half the battle when
we make up our minds to take
the world as we find it,
including the thorns.

Orison Swett Marden

  

Today's Meditation:

The world is what the world is--how easy it is to forget this truth!  And the thorns are not just an important part of it, but a necessary part of it; without the thorns, many things would simply cease to be.  In the plant world, many plants that depend upon thorns for defense would have been eaten into extinction years ago.  In the people world, many of the things that prick us and cause us to bleed teach us important lessons about caution and about looking before we leap.

I believe that the "battle" that Orison is talking about is the battle to be happy, the battle to lead fulfilling and satisfying lives.  Many people are dissatisfied, though, when the world isn't exactly what they want it to be, and their dissatisfaction comes from wanting the world to be thorn-free, but seeing that the world isn't so. 

Sometimes we want to clear out the thorns for other people.  Parents especially seem to want to make things risk-free for their kids, and they often try to make sure that their children don't get hurt in their paths through life.  But these are the kids who grow up not knowing how to deal with adversity, who don't understand why the world isn't making itself safe for them, who aren't able to help other people deal with obstacles in their lives because they haven't had to deal with many in their own.

Thorns impress me--they serve an important purpose, and they serve it well.  Gardeners who are able to work around roses all the time without getting stabbed repeatedly impress me.  People who are able to deal with setbacks and difficulties without losing their cool impress me.  And the people impress me because they are what they are, and because they've learned to take what life has to give and deal with it on its own terms.  They don't try to impose their own will upon life and try to deal with life on their own terms--they accept what is, and they work with that.

Questions to consider:

Can you imagine what a thorn-free world would be like? 

Why do so many people think that thorns are a bad thing, and that life would be better without them?

Marden's statement "when we make up our minds to take the world as we find it" implies an active approach to decision-making.  Have you made this particular decision in your life?  Can we realistically expect to take the world in any other way?

For further thought:

It had done me good to be somewhat parched by the heat
and drenched by the rain of life.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

   

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