Parents typically seek to make life easier for their children than it was for them. But by doing so, we can prevent the very things that will make them more successful, happier, more compassionate, and stronger. We may be getting in the way of your Divine purpose.
It is drought that causes a tree to deeply drag its roots, making it strong and able to withstand droughts and strong winds. When a tree receives too much care, it becomes dependent on that care and less able to cope with the struggle. So it is with us as human beings.
As a child I lost my right eye and was mercilessly teased until I knew what I am about to share with you:
The children asked me: “What’s wrong with your eye?” Being stubborn and embarrassed, I replied, “NOTHING”. They knew it was a lie and would try to force the truth out of me. Sometimes they joined forces with friends to intimidate me into telling the truth. I was very stubborn and refused to tell him. It was like a brick wall that gets hit every day.
After many years of experiencing this abuse and shame, I finally met a very loving church congregation who taught me to accept myself for who I was and not be ashamed. As a result, I no longer hid the truth. When the kids asked me, “What’s wrong with your eye?” I simply replied, “I’m blind in one eye. They just answered” Oh, “and we kept playing together. The fight was gone.
My parents would have given their own eye to save me from such difficulties. But those difficult times are what made me who I am. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do many of the things that I love.
It is true, I am blind in one eye, but I have had the opportunity to give workshops and share my transformation with other children. Those hard times gave me the compassion to acknowledge others who are scared and ashamed, and the ability to help them, and to be told, “You changed my life.” For me that is what the Bible means when the Disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, who was born blind?” Jesus replied, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; God’s works become visible through him (John chapter 9) Every challenge we all undertake is an opportunity He can make or break us, and the choice is ours.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass … it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
I know of a lady who was assigned a child with severe mental problems as a tutor. She was honest with him and told him about his mental disability. She said that he would have to work harder than other children, but that he could also achieve whatever he set his mind to. Knowing the truth led him to work harder, and when he came of age he passed the college entrance exam with flying colors. After entering her classes at the university, the professors approached her and said ‘he has a mental disability’. She replied, ‘Yes?’ The young man did well in college, and by overcoming his challenge, he inspired others.
“When we choose not to focus on what is missing in our lives, but are grateful for the abundance that is present … we experience heaven on earth.”
Many people take this as a denial. I often hear, “If we think negative, we empower it.” Then, fearful, they look the other way or refuse to acknowledge the obvious. When we are on a road trip and we pull out a map to find our way, we must first know our starting point before we can focus on a destination. If I call you for directions to your home, you must know my location before you can give me the proper directions. I do not deny that I am blind in one eye and sometimes it requires my attention (driving and caring for it, as examples). I just don’t see it as bad or embarrassing anymore, and used correctly it is a blessing.
Seeing beauty and opportunity in apparent weakness, the tutor helped the mentally challenged child go far beyond what others might have imagined. The alcoholic cannot experience God’s blessings if he is not.
It is important to note: if we get stuck in past pain or self-pity, we cannot experience the beauty that is within each of us. Forgiving isn’t about forgetting, it’s about letting go of pain.
Sometimes each of us is like the rose: open and expressing the God-given beauty within, and sometimes like the rosebud; closed and without expressing that inner beauty. But it is always there.