“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” — T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Are there times when it seems like you are the only one wrestling with the obstacles life drops in your path? As you can see from the above excerpt, you aren’t alone and in fact, struggle was around long before you or I arrived. As uncomfortable as it is to hear, life can present all of us with difficult paths to follow at one time or another. Life’s hurdles come in many different packages. Death, job losses, broken relationships, difficult neighbors, problematic family members, illnesses, broken dreams or even personal mistakes that you wish you hadn’t made; an endless list of bumps in the road of life that can trip you up, cause you to stumble, and even fall.
Unfortunately –life with all its good times and bad will present you with many such barriers to happiness. But, adversity can also bring you a gift. If you are willing to open that ugly package dropped in your path you may find a wonderful lesson. A death may teach you to be more aware and attentive of the living while they are still with you. A job loss my teach you that you have more to offer the world than you ever thought. A broken relationship might teach you that relationships die if they aren’t attended to. And, stressful friend and family relationships may teach you to set the healthier boundaries necessary to protect your space.
You can learn a lot from difficult times if you aren’t too busy denying them. A Buddhist proverb says, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Notice it doesn’t say that the teacher shows up when the student is ready to learn. The teacher is always ready to pass on what they have learned but the student may not always be ready to hear it. Difficult times create those teachable moments that open us up to seeing things through new eyes. It is the process called learning that allows us to continue growing and becoming stronger. Are you ready for the teachers awaiting you?