From a tsunami in Thailand to Hurricane Katrina, from bombings in Iraq to an avalanche in the Himalayas, stories of miraculous survival seem to occur in every corner of our world. For most of us, being rescued from swelling flood waters or from the icy slopes of Mt. Everest will not be something that we will experience in our lifetimes. Still, life is fickle, leaving us with surging or unscalable situations.
“When it’s dark enough, you can see the stars.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
During a break at one of my company’s seminars, a woman asked me, “Do you think life is fair?” I was quick to answer, “No, it’s certainly not.” To my surprise, she said, “I think it is. Sooner or later, it breaks everybody’s heart.” Later on that evening, I thought about what she had said and concluded that, in a way, she was right. At some time, before our individual lives end, we will have our hearts broken. I know I have had my share of disappointments and surprises. Parents who divorced when I was five. A father who was married and divorced seven times. Girls I fell in love with, but they didn’t feel the same about me. Romances that seemed promising but didn’t work out. Dreams that I was sure would work but ended up failing. Jobs that didn’t work out, leaving me in financial turmoil. Two marriages that didn’t work out. Accidents and endless changes in the economy and weather all seem to continue to arrive daily on my door step. In some ways, I guess life is fair because everyone will experience a level of hardship sometime. We are all in the same boat when it comes to life challenges. I once heard that life is like a deck of cards: you have to play the hand you are given. Meaning, I need to make a great life out of the hand dealt to me. Some children, like me for example, are born and raised in a multiple-divorce family that lives from paycheck to paycheck. Others are born into a financially secure family where commitment is valued. Still, hardships will be common to both. I remember one hardship in my life with vivid clarity.