“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” ~Alphonse Karr
It’s easy to speak of the roses attached to the thornbushes of life. It’s much more difficult to actually see the roses when the thorns have been pushed deep into the flesh of our hearts. We bleed and hurt as everything starts to look very much the color of blood and feel like daggers piercing our flesh.
There is a study that looked at the most accomplished Americans and found 30% of them had lost a parent at a young age. That’s an astounding overrepresentation of those who have suffered great loss among those who have achieved great success.
Perhaps the independence it forced on them at a young age also produced an inner toughness that allows them to more easily push past obstacles that tend to derail others.
The pain and trials, the obstacles and challenges life throws our way can either crush us or strengthen something inside of us that was weak or underdeveloped before the trial came our way. We can come out stronger, more compassionate, kinder, courageous and confident as a result of having to do what we normally would not have to.
Heat Melts … and Refines
Fire burns. But it also cleans, purifies and refines. Heat melts. But out of that act of melted elements, steel is born and titanium is created. Pressure crushes. But it also produces diamonds.
Inside all of us is the as-yet undiscovered greatness of a champion. Beneath the surface of our untested and undeveloped selves, is something amazing. Sometimes it requires a swift kick by life to get us to scratch below the surface of our potentials.
We have so much to offer and yet so few of us offer very much. I believe it is primarily because so few of us are required to dig very deep.
Our lives go swimmingly along, riding the current of mediocrity. Inner resolve is never tapped. Inner strength is never realized. Courage is seldom required in our daily swim through life.
But for those who get sucked into the rapids, they drown … or they develop the ability to swim against the current. They build character and emotional muscles those who never swim in the rapids of life never have to develop.
A few proactively go out and build those muscles on their own. But most of us wait until swimming upstream is a matter of life or death.
To Float or to Swim
Floating requires very little of us, so life tosses us in the deep end from time to time and pulls us out to sea a bit to get us swimming against the current for a while.
Then, when we finally reach shore, we find our moral muscles are noticeably tighter, our character stronger, our hearts elevated and our souls more finely tuned.
Sure, we can complain about the process, but given the results, would you truly want it otherwise?