I’ve got a friend who is amazing with adversity.  Over the years I’ve known him, he was hit hard with various issues – his wife died, he had some health issues and a number of other personal problems.  Every time something happened, I watched him deal with it all through grace and kindness to others. He never excluded me.  He would often ask for advice or support.  All things that brought me closer to him.

I’m not as centered as my friend (although I’m trying). When I face adversity (or fear) I go to my cave or behave badly.  I often try to shut others out or pretend I’m ok.  I can learn a lot from him.

Do you know the old story about the daughter who complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her? She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.  She constantly shut people out and tried to manage it all herself.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

Once done, he asked her to look and feel each of the items.  She did and noted that the hard carrot had become soft, the fragile egg had become hard and the coffee had become a rich aromatic drink.  Now the story ends with the father asking the daughter, “Which one are you?”  But, I think that’s the wrong question because, adversity should bring a bit of all three to our lives.  It should cause us to soften and become more humble.  It should also cause us to develop inner strength.  And, it should result in us becoming a richer human being.

The holiday season is, of course, a time of joy, family and friends.  But it is also a time that reminds us of our life struggles.  When the latter happens, try not to shut out those you love in order to steel yourself from the pain.  That’s what I used to do in my cave.  Instead, try to look inside, find your softness, your strength and the richness in your life and share it with those you love … and maybe even those you don’t.

Have a great weekend!