The Rose

Parents typically seek to make life easier for their children than it was for them. But, in so doing we may be preventing the very things that will make them more successful, happier, more compassionate and stronger. We may be stepping in the way of their Divine purpose.

It is drought that causes a tree to drive its roots deep making it strong and able to withstand droughts and high winds. When a tree receives too much care it becomes dependent on that care, and less able to deal with struggle. So it is with us as humans.

As a child I lost my right eye, and was teased unmercifully until I learned what I am about to share with you:

Children would ask me, “what is wrong with your eye”? Being stubborn and ashamed, I replied, “NOTHING”. They knew that was a lie, and would attempt to force the truth out of me. Sometimes they joined forces with friends to bully me into telling the truth. I was very stubborn, and refused to tell. I was like a brick wall getting beat up daily.

After many years of experiencing this abuse and shame, I finally met a very loving church congregation that taught me how to accept myself as I was, and not to be ashamed. As a result I no longer hid the truth. When children asked me, “what is wrong with your eye?”, I simply replied, “I am blind in one eye. They simply replied “Oh”, and we went on playing together. The fight was gone.

My parents would have given their own eye to have saved me from those difficulties. But those very difficult times are what made me who I am. Without them I would not have been able to do many of the very things I love doing.

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 difficult times gave me the compassion to recognize others who are frightened and ashamed, and the ability to help them, and to have them tell me, “you changed my life”.. To me that is what the Bible means when the Disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, ” Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him (John Chapter 9). Every challenge we all undertake is an opportunity. It can make us or break us, and the choice is our own.

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

I know of a lady who was given a seriously mentally challenged child to tutor. She was honest with him, and told him of his mental handicap. she said that he would have to work harder than other children, but that he also could accomplish what ever he put his mind to. Knowing the truth caused him to work extra hard, and when he became of age he passed the college entrance exam with flying colors. After entering his college classes the professors came to her saying ‘he is mentally handicapped”. She replied, “Yes?” The young man did just fine in college, and by over coming his challenge, inspired others.

“When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that ‘s present…we experience heaven on earth.”

Many people take this to mean denial. I often hear, “If we think on the negative we give it power”. So, fearfully, they look the other way or refuse to acknowledge the obvious. When we are on a road trip, and 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 house, you need to know my location before you can give me proper directions. I do not deny that I am blind in one eye, and at times it does require my focus (driving, and caring for it as examples). I just do not see it as a bad or shameful thing any more, and used properly is a blessing.

By seeing beauty and opportunity in an apparent weakness the tutor helped the mentally challenged child go far beyond what others could have imagined. The alcoholic can’t experience God’s blessings if he is in denial either.

It is important to note: If we get stuck in past pain or self pity we can’t experience the beauty that is within each of us. Forgiving is not about forgetting, it is about letting go of the pain.

Sometimes each of us is like the rose: open and expressing the God given beauty within, and sometimes like the rose bud; closed and not expressing that inner beauty. Bit it is always there.

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