Thursday, 22 October 2009


When the clouds roll in, the wind begins to howl and huge rain drops start to fall what do we do? If we have no reason for being out of doors then we close our doors firmly, bolt all the windows and sit snugly in our homes until the storm passes. We feel blessed not to be out there facing the worst the storm has to offer. Even if the electricity fails because of the intensity of the storm, we still feel protected, warm and comfortable in our own familiar surroundings, especially when we think of the poor souls having to face the elements. What if we have to go out to fulfil some urgent errand or attend an important meeting? Because the wind is so strong our umbrella is useless so we wrap our coat more tightly around us, if we are wearing a hat, we clamp it tighter onto our head and face down we walk through the storm. We feel the rain soaking through our clothes, no matter how tightly we have wrapped them around us. At this point a grim determination takes hold and we make up our minds that there is no way the storm is going to beat us. We are going to our meeting whatever and even if we are soaked to the skin we are going to get there. If we are lucky a taxi or a bus may come along and we obtain shelter from the storm that way.

When we arrive at our destination, bedraggled and wet through, what then? With luck there will be a place where we can dry our face and hands and comb our hair, even if we have to sit through the meeting in wet clothes. We notice some people did not arrive because of the storm. That is when we begin to feel good. We made the effort; it was and is uncomfortable but we refused to allow the vagaries of the weather to upset our plans. As a result we can play an active part in the meeting and maybe reach agreement that would not have been possible had the absent members been there! Despite the discomfort of our wet clothes an inner glow resulting from a challenge faced an overcome, suffuses us. We feel stronger, knowing that the human spirit can overcome all manner of things with determination.

This is a hypothetical situation but in all manner of different ways, our lives throw up challenges unexpectedly and we have to decide whether to face and overcome them or wait until the sun comes out again. The problem is that sometimes if we choose to wait for the sun’s re-appearance, we find an opportunity has disappeared. Perhaps facing and overcoming the unexpected challenge is in some deep way, part of the purpose behind whatever it is we have struggled through the storm to reach. Life goes along smoothly and seemingly without any serious problems, maybe for years and then suddenly everything changes. Where there was peace, tranquillity and sunny days, there is now conflict, turmoil and stormy weather. We may curse our luck and say, “Why does this have to happen just now?” We may look with envy upon those whose life still seems to be serene and ask, “Why me?”

The fact is, we all have to face physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges throughout our lives. When we have periods of tranquillity we are blessed but I believe we should not necessarily regard those as the norm. We have chosen to put on a physical body in order to subject our real, spirit selves, to the challenge of living in what is to us, an alien earthly environment. To make such a significant choice whilst in the haven of our true spiritual home, the reasons must have been compelling. Therefore, when life throws us lemons, “make lemonade” as they say, don’t bemoan the fact that we can’t make wine. We are all nervous or even fearful about facing some of the challenges life creates for us but in the end, if we face them, all we are likely to suffer is wet clothes! Refuse to face them and we will find other, perhaps more difficult challenges will come our way. Always remember you chose you life, for better or for worse and facing and overcoming its difficulties will bring that warm inner glow that easily offsets the temporary discomfort of wet clothes.

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