Joy in the Midst of Hardship

A group of pilgrims were walking along a road, headed for a sacred shrine, to make a special petition. Each of them was carrying a burden of some sort. But they kept their mind on their goal, and not on what they were carrying. An angel joined the little band and passing from one to another, threw onto the burdens a few little white seeds. These sprouted and grew into a pair of large wings which carried the burdened travelers along the dusty road.

Farther down the same road there was another party of pilgrims moving along with downcast faces and complaining of their heavy loads. The same angel came up to them and kept on going. Someone asked him, “Why didn’t you give them wings, too? They are so downcast and gloomy; they need help more than the cheerful ones up front.”

The angel answered, “The kind of seeds I have will only grow in the right kind of soil. They need cheerfulness and helpfulness; but an atmosphere of grumbling kills them.”

— Tony Castle

When faced with burdens, it is often so much easier for us to complain and ask God, “Why me?” Maybe instead of grumbling, we should, like the first group of pilgrims, ask God, “Lord, what do You want me to learn from these?” and keep our eyes on the goal.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) Don’t our doctors tell us the same thing? 🙂


‘Weather’ You Like It or Not

Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” I say, “Life is like the weather – unpredictable; sometimes full of sunshine; sometimes full of clouds.” We can’t control certain circumstances in life, much like we can’t control the weather. Does the “weather” in your life determine your happiness?

Sometimes, we sabotage our own chance at happiness by our attitude. We say, “If only I had this, or that, then I’d be happy.” “If only I was like him/her, then I’d be happy.” “If only I was rich, then I’d be happy.” Happiness is a choice. When we learn to be grateful for what we have in our life, instead of focusing on what we don’t have, then we can be happy.

Pleasant moments in life are like warm, sunny days. Be grateful for the sunshine and the warmth – it’s not going to last forever, you know. When we have major problems, it’s like dark, stormy days. Be grateful for the waters that will replenish the earth – in these times, be thankful that God is giving us trials to make us grow stronger. When we’re confused and lost, it’s like a foggy day – we can’t see much of where we’re going. Be grateful for the chance to trust completely in God and to let Him take our hand and guide us through the fog. On cold days when we can’t do much but just sleep in, be grateful for the chance to rest, for our bodies to heal, for the chance to meditate and to talk to God.

Remember, the only thing that we can control is our attitude. Learn to be happy; choose to be grateful, whatever the weather, the circumstances, in life are. As Vivian Greene said, “Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass.. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”