July 9      

Today's quotation:

Adversity draws people together and produces beauty and harmony in life's relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth.

Søren Kierkegaard

Today's Meditation:

I've faced an awful lot of adversity in my life, and there's a part of me that wishes that I hadn't had to do so.  There's another part of me, though, that recognizes that I learned a lot from the adversity that I faced, and that I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't had to go through the things I went through.  I wouldn't say that the adversity itself was good for me-- I still carry significant remnants of the negative effects it had on me-- but I do feel fortunate that I was able to find ways to work through it and rise above it.

On a community scale, adversity can work much the same way.  It can pull people together as they try to help one another work through things like war, natural disasters, financial crises, and the like.  Communities often band together when bad things happen-- many articles have been written about just how kind and considerate Americans were to each other after the attacks of 9/11-- and people often treat each other much better than they normally do.

Sometimes, though, when adversity strikes our first and strongest response is despair, a feeling of denial or anger.  When something bad happens to us, we think that it's not fair.  Why me?  And we get so caught up in our negative responses that we don't allow ourselves to rise to face the adversity.  Instead, we let the adversity get the best of us, and we give up without ever using the strength we've been given.  I know many victims of alcoholic parents who become alcoholics themselves, and many victims of abuse who become abusers themselves.  They play the victim game instead of refusing to become a victim.

Adversity will come into your life in many different forms.  Since we can't force it out of our lives, the best things we can do is to accept it, let it in, and then do our best to deal with it and learn from it.  Allow it to bring forth our strengths, and adversity will turn into a positive part of our lives instead of something that destroys our lives.  It may harm us, but in the healing we will find more to ourselves than we knew was there.

Questions to consider:

How do you see adversity when it comes into your life?  Does your perspective help you to deal with it?

Why do so many of us allow adversity to bring us down instead of making us stronger?

What types of adversity do you face regularly?  Do you respond to it in the same ways today as you did years ago?

For further thought:

Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them.  The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.


more on adversity



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