That came home to me later last week, when I faced a trial of my own. A challenge I hadn't expected came out of nowhere and hit me right between the eyes, potentially affecting my life at work and at home. At first, it left me feeling dazed, confused, sad and angry. A few hours later, I was feeling resigned, forgiving and even a little comforted. But the earlier feelings came right back again shortly after that.
For days, I rode up and down on this roller-coaster. I definitely felt that life was getting more "lifey" than I liked, even if I was an adult who had pushed through past struggles and disappointments that taught me how to process and deal with such experiences.
Reflecting on this left me feeling more sympathetic to my own children as they face their lives' vicissitudes. But it also convinced me more fully that we should be thankful for our trials and the lessons they teach.
For example, I'm glad I worked long hours in journalism for many years. Besides helping me build many work skills in a challenging and often fun environment, it taught me the value of time with my family and the importance of work-life balance. And that prepared me to take a risk and make a change when a new opportunity arose that could help me build that balance.
I'm glad that I've had many different kinds of friends and friendships, as they've taught me that all relationships include both good times and bad. Friendship can be hard work at times, requiring patience and forgiveness, but the rewards are worth the effort.
I'm most grateful to know that I have been truly blessed — with a job that allows me to use some of my skills and to support my family; with a spiritual life that keeps me simultaneously grounded and focused on things beyond myself; and most of all with a wife and children who love and support me even when things get crazy at work or at home.
Craziness will happen. That is, indeed, life. But as long as we have people we can count on when life gets a bit too "lifey," we can face our challenges, learn our lessons and move on to the next adventure.
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