“We win half the battle when we make up our minds to take the world as we find it, including the thorns.” ~ Orison Swett Marden …
The thorns of this world are a necessary and important part of life. Just as roses are not roses without them, if we removed the thorns of life, many of the necessary things in this world would simply cease to be. Sure, they are not always pleasant–they often cause us pain, suffering, grief, and misery–but the lessons they teach us about caution, avoidance, perseverance, and growth are essential to our becoming. <!–more–>
To lead fulfilling and satisfying lives, we need the struggles, the battles, and the occasional prick from the thorns of life. We all begin life not knowing who we are or what we want to be. And as we search for purpose and meaning, we either come to find ourselves through our journey–obstacles and all,–or we begin to find ourselves dissatisfied that life is not exactly as we expected it to be. But that dissatisfaction is our own doing; it comes from wanting or expecting the world to be free of thorns, yet seeing that it is not.
As compassionate individuals, we often wish to help remove the thorns from the lives of others. Especially as parents, we try to ensure that the lives of our children are safe, shielded, and risk-free so that they do not get hurt or ever have to face pain in their journey through life. But it is important to remember the significance of experiencing the thorns of life, or these children might grow up not knowing how to deal with adversity, not understanding why the world is not making itself safe for them, blaming God and others for the pains, sufferings, failures, and losses in their lives.
The thorns of life strengthen us, they help us to grow, and they condition us for service–they are a necessity of life. For it is really only through experiencing and dealing with adversity in our lives, that we are able to help others to do the same. And those of us who are able to deal with the setbacks and difficulties of life–without losing our composures or giving up–are master gardeners of our lives, for they have learned to work around all the thorns, and have cultivated a garden filled with beautiful flowers.
Deal with what life has to give on its own terms instead of trying to impose your own upon life.
Questions to consider:
Can you imagine what a thorn-free world would be like?
Why do so many people think that thorns are a bad thing, and that life would be better without them?
Marden’s statement “when we make up our minds to take the world as we find it” implies an active approach to decision-making. Have you made this particular decision in your life? Can we realistically expect to take the world in any other way?
For further thought:
“It had done me good to be somewhat parched by the heat and drenched by the rain of life ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow