How to Face Life's Challenges
Life’s challenges are everywhere. Disaster strikes when you seem to least expect it. How do we face life's challenges? The doctor’s grim face causes your heart to skip a beat. “I don’t know how to say this. You have cancer. I’m sorry.” Burdens of piled bills weigh heavily on your shoulders.
Troubles wearing blatantly bright red shirts knock on your doorstep sweeping in mockingly showing you painful images. The other woman. Betrayal. A failed marriage. Death of a loved one. Bankruptcy. Recession. The mocking voice laughs wickedly, “Who did you think it was? Santa Claus?”
Drowned in misery and despair, you sit down, staring blankly at the wall of the unknown. You sigh heavily and ask the question that echoes into the dark night. “Why? Why is this happening to me?”
Challenges: Why are they there in our lives?
I have come to believe that as human beings we constantly evolve and grow. We can’t help it. That is just who we are. And when we are not growing, we feel we are in a rut and suddenly all sorts of feelings erupt. Feelings like impatience or restlessness. Because of this yearning to grow, we draw into our lives certain experiences that assist us in this process.
Allow me to share my story.
I grew up in a pretty protective environment. Imagine my parent’s dismay when out of the blue, I announced bravely, I was quitting my dental profession and be in a learning center instead. I knew they were not happy with the idea but I forged on anyway. I was actually ashamed of my decision to quit because the six years of dentistry was an expensive one and I was throwing that all away.
The shame and guilt preventive me from asking any help from my parents. So I went into the tutorial center with no skills and training except with the knowing that I no longer wanted to clean or extract teeth or do root canals! I was happy I no longer have to pray for patients to cancel their appointments. Yes, I was that miserable.
Anyhow, while running the learning center, the challenges came one after the other. We faced financial, emotional, management problems. To top it all, the place we rented turn out to be a huge problem in itself. We battled with leaking roofs, termites and flood.
Oh I’ve wanted to quit so many times that I’ve lost count. Tears of frustration were shed constantly. Amidst the agonizing, I asked myself, why in the world did I ever allow myself to get into this mess? I began to hate and resent the situation I was in. Until one day, we were on the rooftop trying to solve the gutter that leaked constantly when I blew up. I cursed the heavens right there and then. I blamed the landlady for this aging place which us giving us problems all the time. And inwardly, I blamed myself for the choices I have made. I hated the pain. I hated the problems. I just hated it! I wanted so much to make it work and it seemed efforts were futile.
When we were back in the office, my outburst drained me. I knew there was much to be thankful for but I was struggling amidst it all. The kids were done with their classes and could be heard running around the room. A few kids ran to the office and out again. One of the 4 year old boys ran in, looked at me and hugged me. The hug caught me by surprise. As he ran to chase the other kids, a tear escaped my eye. I could hear God whispering to me softly, “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
That night as I lay in bed reflecting on my life, I realized that I hated the challenges so much that I had forgotten the reason why Stella (my business partner) and I decided to stay on even when the others have quit. We both had agreed to stay for the kids. I also realized that I hated the challenges because I was afraid of the image of failure that we were presenting to the world. Maybe I should start accepting the problems and enjoy the journey instead. That decision brought me instant peace and I slept peacefully that night.
The next time the rains came and the water started to trickle in, Stella and I looked at each other and laughed. Okay, we rolled our sleeves and started to get the buckets out. And call the parents, I added, we are canceling classes. Tell them we have flood!
In time, when we were ready, we moved out of that place and rented a better one. But whenever I look back, I know that I grew up along the way. I recognized that I really wanted to grow as a person and that opportunity with all its challenges made it all possible.
Life’s challenges…you can either love or hate them. It’s really up to you. Growth is most painful when you resist it. But the sooner you accept it, solutions come faster than you can imagine. Be blessed in your journey.
By: Michelle Simtoco
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