Thursday, December 4, 2014

When all lights are green

There are days when all lights are green; everything runs smoothly, sometimes even better than expected. Then there are days when everything goes wrong; we struggle from morning to night.

This morning on my way to town every traffic light was green, the first time in 26 years. Not once did I use my brakes; it was a thrill to keep moving.

It felt like having a winning streak at a card game and I wistfully thought how pleasant it would be always to win. Yet the left side of my brain objected to my selfish thought: Who would want to play with you if you always had the upper hand? Nobody. Nor would you ever feel challenged to play to the best of your ability. There’s great satisfaction in playing a poor hand well.

Life is an inscrutable, incorruptible taskmaster. It rarely deals us the hand we’d like, but—as the saying goes—when given a lemon, we can endeavor to make good lemonade.

Some lemons are especially bitter. They can be difficult to swallow, but they can also make us stronger. Effort, patience and persistence often pay off. If nothing else, they strengthen our ability to handle life’s voluminous vicissitudes.

At times, a particularly capricious challenge may become the crucible of something grand. As Goethe wrote in his Faust, “Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, den werden wir erlösen.” He who keeps striving shall be set free.

Until next time,