If you are a regular reader of my entries, you will know that I have just been through a brief (thank God) tough time. It spanned no more than two weeks and, compared to say, someone facing a cancer and chemo diagnosis, or someone involved in a long recovery from a really bad accident, it was just a blip on the horizon of life. That didn’t make going through it any easier.
Just yesterday, in the reading from one of my daily meditational books, Linda Picone wrote, “Tough times can make us stronger and wiser. Knowing this doesn’t really make tough times any easier, though – at least not while we’re going through them. But it’s worthwhile to remind ourselves often of this truth. Of course, we get stronger not simply because we go through tough times, but because we call upon our best selves to find our way through them. We draw on our humor, patience, courage, and other qualities and, in doing so, learn the power of inner resources.”
I totally agree. However, just based on my personal experience in life, I think there are two strong ingredients missing from the above recipe: prayer (which, for me anyway, indicates a turning to God, a higher Spiritual Being); and asking for help.
My dear daily companion (in book form at least!), Max Lucado, talks about habits that we should develop. He recommends four habits that are worth engaging in on a regular basis to help us grow in our spiritual life. The very first of these is prayer. I cannot agree strongly enough with this statement. Since developing my prayer habit my life has definitely changed for the better but, more importantly, I have changed for the better.
I have written a couple of blogs on the subject of prayer (Prayer: A Tool Of Spirituality and Sacred Riding: My Harley Prayer Time), but I’m sure that I could write a whole book about it and the difference that prayer has made in my life. So when I hit tough times today an instinctual reaction for me is to pray.
Even though I am fully aware of “Mr. Censor” (see my blog Musings: Life And Lemons) snarling away in the corner of my mind, “I don’t want to make lemonade!” (or pray, or help someone, etc…), prayer is my first line of defense against whatever difficulties life chooses to hurl at me. It is on these occasions that I get down on my knees physically or mentally and I ask God to help me through.
And there is that second ingredient that I referred to – asking for help. One of my biggest human deformities is pride. “Human deformities” sounds so much more intellectual and suave than “sin”, doesn’t it? (Did I mention that I suffer from pride?) However, I’ve learned not to beat myself up about this seeming lack in my otherwise perfect character (did I mention that I suffer from pride?), because I realize that 95% of the human race has difficulty asking for help, and I’m so close to being in that other 5%. (Did I mention that I suffer from pride?)
Over the years, and with a lot of assistance from God and myriads of angels that He has sent across/along my path, I have slowly managed to arrive at a point where I can usually ask for help from others before being forced to my knees by the weight of whatever cross I am bearing. This has usually saved me a lot of heartbreak and loss of wasted energy.
Asking for help also brings me to right size and helps me put my problem into perspective in the bigger scheme of things. When I ask another for help, I am admitting (finally!) to myself and to others that I don’t have all the answers. I am acknowledging that I am not the “be all and end all” of the universe, which in turn allows me to chip away at my pride and acquire a little humility. I am also offering to someone else the opportunity to come out of themselves and to do something good for another. It is a win-win situation.