“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” – Charles A. Beard
When I wish to go stargazing, I find a place that is dark enough, a place with little to no light pollution or cloud coverage. And as Charles is hinting towards here, our lives are very much the same: if I wish to become something greater than who I am now, I have to search for the stars even in the darkest of nights. Through the obstacles I face and the difficulties I encounter, how I see things determines more of my happiness, or lack thereof, than I might ever imagine. The question, then, is do I look for the stars?
It is all about our perspectives in life. What may be a branch that is blocking the path for a runner, could be used as a bridge to cross a creek, or fashioned into a ladder to help another man harvest apples from a tree. The way in which we react to things is usually a reflection of how we have seen them.
And we all have troubles in life. Some are easy to work our way through, such as a broken lawn mower or bicycle–we simply fix or replace it. Others require more effort on our part to get through, such as relationship problems. Yet if we can maintain a healthy perspective, we can see that any obstacle put in our way is there to help us to learn and to grow, to develop our character and our ability to help others. After all, once we go through a certain obstacle or problem, we now have experience, and that is something we can gain through no other means. Furthermore, it is something that we can share with others who may be faced with similar issues.
We sometimes require the darkness of difficulties and hardships in our lives to see the brightness–the goodness and the beauty–of the stars. Do you take the time to realize the positive potential available to you through your obstacles, difficulties, or setbacks? A failed relationship can teach you much about yourself and what you do and do not like in other people. A job that is difficult and unpleasant can teach you much about what you can and cannot do well, and what you truly enjoy and do not enjoy doing. The death of a loved one can help you to reflect on what that person meant to you and to appreciate those who are still here with you in life.
Look for the positive in every obstacle you encounter today.
Questions to consider:
What sort of things build most character in us: the positive and easy, or the difficult and sometimes negative?
How would you advise a friend to look at his or her problems? Do you look at yours in the way that you would advise others to?
Can you think of something that happened to you that seemed awful, yet that turned out to be a positive experience?
For further thought:
“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud–the obstacles of life and its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.” – Goldie Hawn