“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon
Every life is filled with joys and sorrows, yet we all wish we could skip the sorrow part. We would like to live happily ever after, so it seems unfair when the events of life do not cooperate. When things go wrong we have the sense that this is not how it is supposed to be. In fact, it probably is all part of the game.
Remember board games? We would travel around the squares on a board depending on the roll of the dice. Sometimes we would land on a square that meant something good, and other times it meant a setback. We might also have to draw cards that had similar unpredictable outcomes. We agreed to play the game knowing full well the risks that would be involved. We accepted the risks, because even if we lost the game, there was still fun in playing it.
Of course it was different when we were younger. Any negative outcome at all may have brought us to tears along with a refusal to continue the game. Perhaps there was a tantrum involving flipping the board over, tossing the pieces around and lots of foot stamping and screaming. Eventually, if anyone was going to play with us, we had to learn to roll with the changing fortunes.
We saw that sometimes we would win, sometimes lose. It was not fun to lose, but we knew we had to be good sports. We also knew that is how games are, and the most important thing was the people we played with and the time we shared with each other.
While life is not a game, there are similarities to the board game experience. We do not know what is up ahead, and there is much over which we have no control. We may indeed have setbacks, even crushing defeats, and still, like the game, life goes on. In the toughest times, we have to figure out how we go on.
Significantly, it is through challenging ourselves to get through those times that we draw upon deep parts of ourselves we may not even have known we had. People who have survived the most painful tragedies seem to have somehow expanded through the process. They are so much more than they were before. We cannot choose what is in store for us. We can, however, choose whether to be completely destroyed by it, or to find the strength to incorporate our losses, and to stay connected to those who share our journey.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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