You Got A Problem?

In his book, When Bad Things Happen To Good People, Harold Kushner tells of an old Chinese tale of a woman whose only son had died.

 ”In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, “What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?” Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, “Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.” The woman set off at once in search of the magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door and said, “I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.” They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and began to describe all the tragic things that had recently befallen on them. The woman said to herself, “Who is better to help these poor unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own.” 

After comforting one family, the lady continued on her journey in search for the magical mustard seed, but every palace and home she turned to was another story of hardships and misfortunes. “Ultimately she became so involved in ministering to other people’s griefs that she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed-never realizing that it had in fact driven the sorrow out of her own life.” 

From the richest to the destitute, when it comes to problems, we’re all on the same ship-just different decks. Even though what you are going through right now may seem unfair or unjust, there’s someone, somewhere who would gladly swap their problems for yours. It’s not to diminish the fact that what you are facing-albeit a financial hardship, strained relationship, sales slump, or maybe even something greater, isn’t painful, but understand that what you are going through today will not remain a problem forever. Rather than focusing only on your problems, use them instead to fuel the possibilities. Seek the opportunity to help others who are walking on the path that you once traveled. Let them know that they are not alone on their journey-you made it through and so can they.  Their road is less ominous when you become the light. Interestingly when you become the light to others, you in turn become the light to yourself. 

Lift your perspective to look at life not as a closure, but more as a series of detours. Behind every problem rests the opportunity-look for it. 


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