Saturday, September 15, 2007

There is no shame in adversity

"We cannot learn without pain."
Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)

"Trials, temptations, disappointments -- all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of character but strengthen it. Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before." James Buckham

Getting off the phone with my brother, I realize that there are things that will still share and one of them is growing up with the shame of adversity. Instead of it being a touchstone of growth, adversity is something that we ought to be ashamed of and if we choose to speak about it at all, it is in a low whisper. My brother spoke to me in this low whisper and then quickly went on to other things, no time for me to respond and it hit me as I got off the phone - shame. Mistakes and things not going our way are as bad as purposefully doing something wrong. This attitude blocks an opportunity for a change and personal growth.
Coming to an understanding of adversity becoming an asset has been and continues to be one of the most difficult lessons to learn for me personally. It is a clear illustration of my perfectionist tendencies. It is an opportunity to learn and to bring about greater character in ourselves and our children.
It does not have to be anything big. Like a lot of things we instill principles into our children by the way we deal with the smaller incidences in life. It is those everyday things that prepare us for the bigger difficulties we will face.
The shame of adversity is a terrible lie. Wise men and women of the past demonstrate to us, that they indeed would go through everything they have gone through to get to the place where they are now. Many have gone on to glory where there is no more pain or sorrow and they live in the Presence of God the Father glorious. That thought helps me keep an eternal perspective.
One of the fruit of going through adversity is humility. I do not believe humility is something we can forge in ourselves but one that the Lord uses our circumstances and relationships to shape us and mold us more into the image of His Son.
I am grateful for this ongoing lesson. And a shout out to my brother Pete, hoping he will be open to learning from it too.
Pax, CM

Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. [Isaiah 48:10]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are all some kind of weakling; and he who thinks he is not, pride is his weakness and that is the worst of all-----Samuel M. Shoemaker
You touch a raw nerve there Catherine with your share.
It is difficult to remember that adversity is a good thing. Let's share them with one another that we can hear the voice of God.