February 28


Today's Quotation:

The little troubles and worries of life, so many of which we meet, may be as stumbling blocks in our way, or we may make them stepping-stones to a noble character and to Heaven.  Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.

Henry Ward Beecher

Today's Meditation:

Perspective is one of the most important aspects of our lives.  How we see things determines more of our happiness or unhappiness, positive or negative feelings, than we might ever imagine.  One person's undefeatable obstacle is another person's stumbling block; what I see as an insult another person may see as a funny joke.  The way we react to things is usually a reflection of how we've seen them.

We all have troubles.  Some of our troubles are easy to work our way through, such as a flat tire--we simply replace the flat.  But other troubles, such as the very important meeting that we've missed because of the flat tire, seem to be more drastic, and much more important.  Maybe we'll even get fired for missing the meeting, and that would be an awful problem.  Or would it?

If we can maintain a healthy perspective, we can see that any obstacle put in our way is there to help us learn and to grow, to develop our character and our ability to help others.  After all, once we go through a certain obstacle or problem, we now have experience, and that's something we can use to help someone else who may be going through something similar.  If we look at our problems and obstacles as tests--life tests which help to form us, not tests that try to determine how much we've learned--then we can use that perspective to help us to get through them in a way that's positive and constructive.

A failed relationship will teach us much about ourselves and what we do and don't like in other people.  A job that is difficult and unpleasant will teach us much about what we can and can't do well, and what we truly enjoy and don't enjoy doing.  A death of a loved one can help us to reflect on what that person meant to us and to appreciate those who are still with us.  The list of lessons we can learn from setbacks is endless, of course, but we have to be ready and willing to learn, don't we?

Questions to ponder:

1.  Can you think of something that happened to you that was "just awful," but that turned out to be a positive experience?

2.  What sort of things build most character in us:  the positive and easy, or the difficult and sometimes negative?

3.  How would you advise a friend to look at his or her problems?  Do you look at yours in the way that you would advise others to?

For further thought:

Sometimes things which at the moment may be perceived as obstacles--and actually be obstacles, difficulties, or drawbacks--can in the long run result in some good end which would not have occurred if it had not been for the obstacle.

Steve Allen

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