Henry Ford is quoted as saying: "Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward."
Growing, and especially rapid personal growth, is rarely a comfortable or easy experience (I'm speaking from lots of personal experience here!). However, if we persevere with our struggle (often largely with ourselves) and find a way to come out at the other end of the dark tunnel, we have learned what we were meant to and may find ourselves in a wonderful new place -- the tunnel led to a gorgeous, green valley, more beautiful than we could ever have imagined.
When there are struggles, challenges or issues in our lives; when things are not working out the way we would like; when obstacles arise; relationships falter or breakdown; disasters occur and all the other minor and major challenges that face us daily, in order to overcome them, to change our circumstances, we are forced to grow, to become "bigger," as Mr. Ford said.
A mentor of mine gave me an interesting perspective once as I was dealing with yet another challenge (I must be a very big person by now). He suggested that I be very grateful to the person who was the source of my dilemma. "Why grateful," I ask, thinking about the lost sleep, soul searching, fear and hard work that was occurring.
He suggested that it was as if God had decided that I was capable of more, more joy, more satisfaction, more giving, more growth; it was time to offer me an opportunity to "be bigger," and that he had given me a gift to help me. And of course that gift was the person triggering the above lost sleep etc. In fact, my mentor said, "Think about the words 'the present.' A present is a gift. The present, what's happening to you right now, is a gift from this person (and/or God)."
Well, of course, this concept took some time to filter through my beliefs; I wondered if this was new age "woo woo" stuff; if it was just a cop out (NO -- there's too much hard work involved for it to be a cop out); and the idea of being grateful for pain took some work!
Live in the Present
However, it now makes sense to me. I like the idea that the present is a gift. Living in the present, no matter how challenging, is always more rewarding than wallowing in the past or being terrified of something in the future. And if we manage to conquer the challenge, inevitably we are presented with a "gift" of some sort -- a new relationship; new job; new opportunity; new life.
And then I thought that if I wasn't growing during my life (not just physically), I would probably be very bored in nanoseconds! Recall that old saying -- I forget who originally said it -- "if you're green, you grow, if you're ripe, you rot!" The day we think we know it all, we've done it all is the day we start to rot. We lose our zest for living.
Here is another quote that I think you will agree is relevant:
"The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end, may also be only the beginning." -- Ivy Baker Priest, a former U.S. treasurer who must have been a very wise woman.
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