Saturday, September 20, 2008

Life's Challenges

A few days ago I was typing out some thoughts for my weekly post. But today when I went back to put the thoughts into some coherent format, the notes were not where I thought they were. Which means that the beginnings of what could have been a work of literary genius (yeah, right) are now *poof* gone.

Don't you hate when that happens? Something you hoped would work one way suddenly changes its course, without first asking your input. There's a word for that ...

" C H A L L E N G E "

Yes, I am now challenged with starting my post over, from scratch.

If only all of life's challenges were of that caliber. But, alas, they are often somewhat more complex. For example, your boss asks you to forgo a pay increase so the company can stay afloat, and the following week your spouse loses his job, leaving you with the challenge of seriously renegotiating financial priorities.

Or, here's another one. Your 19 year old college student son totals his car, leaving your family unit, which goes four different directions in the morning, with only one vehicle. Now what?

And I'll give you one more. Dad's got cancer. Chemo is not an option because it has a high risk of causing a stroke. Medications aren't working. All that can be done is to make him as comfortable as a cancer patient can be as he waits to die. Mom's a wreck. How can you get through this and still be strong for your own daughter?

These are real life challenges, happening to people who are very close to me. In every single case, the people involved can either let the challenges overcome them, or can somehow find a way to not only survive, but to thrive.

Thrive?? You mean actually enjoy the trials that unexpectedly come our way?

Well, not exactly the trial itself, but what unexpectedly comes out as a result of going through it. If we look for the lessons learned and their benefits, our lives become more alive as a result. If we do not, we risk irreparable damage to the relationships that are most important to us.

We don't come to these results overnight. And we can't get there on our own. It takes perseverance and strength to get there. It takes friends and family and God to lean on and see us through, to help us to carry our loads when we feel we can bear no more.

The first couple learns that "things" are not as important as they creatively learn how to appreciate each other. The second family has more of an opportunity to spend time together and have more meaningful conversation. The third 40-something discovers that her parents do deeply love her, and she learns how to show that love to her daughter.

(And this post turned out far better than the notes I originally had.)

The life we gain from enduring life's challenges far outweighs the life we lose by giving up.

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