GAZING outside as I open the sliding door to allow the cooling morning breeze in, I notice washing on the line. The sprinklers are also soon to activate. Problem? Only momentarily. Overcoming procrastination, another five minute job ticked off the list, and a favour done for my wife. I then think of what else I could do for her. A simple yet factual illustration, problems are often opportunities in disguise.
This is starkly a choice between optimism and pessimism. Who really in their right minds (i.e. with the right knowledge of the choices before them) chooses to be a pessimist when it’s just as easy being an optimist? Many, it is sad to say. It’s a pity for their background and experience that they cannot see with hope in the world.
This list is basically endless...
Problem: conflict. Opportunity: character growth via understanding, humility, gentleness.
Problem: incapacity. Opportunity: be inspired by a docudrama or write an old-fashioned letter (okay, email it).
Problem: three places to be in at the same time. Opportunity: face it, everyone loves you! It really is no problem at all.
Problem: work on Monday (it’s Monday morning). Opportunity: start dreaming of what you’ll do on your next weekend, realising the power of anticipation, as you whistle joyfully through your work.
Problem: you hate how you look in the mirror. Opportunity: commit to exercise and dietary control and those excess kilos will be trimmed off in no time and you’ll feel younger to boot.
Problem: not enough time to do everything. Opportunity: to see that there’s enough time to do the important things and some of the things you like.
Problem: you’ve got an addiction to something. Opportunity: think of the people you’ll be able to help once you’ve truly licked it!
Some problems like cancer, deaths of loved ones, severe conflict and other lasting dire straits present unique opportunities for us. It’s not so easy to see the silver lining. But, each of us has the capacity to see good things from every circumstance. These are individualised perceptions only we can create of our own.
Sometimes our own suffering merely brings it home to us how much suffering there is and how many are affected. To grow a more compassionate heart is an opportunity—it’ll bring home a thankful joy every time.
Problems are opportunities for growth and growth is the purpose of life. Can you see now that problems are necessary?
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.