Struggling With Adversity
Speaker: Ryan Terry
Please read these four little short stories about struggling with adversity to acquaint you with Ryan’s topic this coming Sunday.
The Farmer and the Donkey
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway-it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all of his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off, and take a step up.
A Carrot, an Egg, and a Cup of Coffee
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the daughter replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity—boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything—they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches
The Two Wolves
An old Cherokee was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said, “A battle is raging inside me…it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The old man looked at the children with a firm stare. “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee replied: “The one you feed.”
A Beautiful Life!
Here Are Some Tips That May Bring You A Beautiful Life!
- Take a 10-30 minute walk every day and while you walk, smile.
- Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
- When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, “My purpose is to … today.”
- Live with the 3 E’s… Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy, and the 3 F’s … Faith, Family, Friends.
- Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
- Dream more while you are awake.
- Try to make at least three people smile each day.
- Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn, pass all your tests. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
- Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.
- Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
- Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
- You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagreements.
- Make peace with your past, so it won’t mess up the present.
- Don’t compare your life with others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
- Burn the candles, use the nice sheets. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
- No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
- Forgive everyone for everything.
- What other people think of you is none of your business.
- Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
- However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
- Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will stay in touch.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.
- The best is yet to come… Believe.
- No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
- Do the right thing!
- Call your family often.
- Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: “I am thankful for…” “Today I accomplished…”
- Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
- Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. Make the most of it and enjoy the ride.
(Authors of these Stories Unknown)