Calm seas do not a skillful sailor make. – Old Proverb
Life is not dull, is it? We are each of us faced with innumerable (and sometimes never-ending) challenges every day – some small, some big. Thank the good Lord there are challenges! Can you imagine how stunted our lives would be without some adversity, without some hill to climb?
Oh, for sure, there are days when I relish the peace and serenity afforded to me by those rare days of “laziness” and “calm”. But too many of those days and we begin to go a little loco, yes? They say that variety is the spice of life. Shake things up. Do something different, Try new things. Challenge yourself. Push those boundaries. Growth comes out of those experiences.
Sometimes life throws us those challenges when it is inconvenient. Seriously, is it ever really “convenient” to face adversity? Not really. Sometimes, those opportunities for growth leave me gasping for breath and feeling overwhelmed. When I have a chance to regroup, I roll up my sleeves and get to it to the best of my ability. Yes, those challenges can be terrifying when they demand that I step outside my comfort zone and take the leap. Invariably I learn a little more about myself in each of this episodes. I learn that I can get to the other side of situations, tough and not so tough; I learn how to navigate through those storms, should they arise again, and guide my “life” boat to safety.
If I only experience doldrums at sea, only fair weather, I become unprepared when the storms arrive. Absent those storms I don’t know what I am capable under a given set of circumstances. If I don’t use the tools in my toolbox, it won’t be long before they get rusty and dull. If I don’t exercise my wits, my physical strength or my spiritual principles … they atrophy!
That being said, I struggle with applying spiritual principles on a consistent basis in my daily life. I forget that I have patience, empathy, tolerance, serenity and others like them in my life toolbox The application of spiritual principles does not depend on time or circumstance! I fail and I fail often at this. I stumble in consistently moving forward toward being a better man. I fall short of being a better father to my sons (who try my patience at times). I miss the mark at being more affectionate with my wife. I lose my perspective, my patience and my cool … a lot! It’s frustrating!!!!
Thank God for 12-step programs and the life tools embodied in those steps. It is the progress, the incremental movement forward, not the attainment of perfection that matters. I fail only if I don’t get back up from falling. I only have today and each day presents a new opportunity to move forward, a new opportunity to make this place a little better for my having been here.
I am not a loser for failing, for falling. It just makes me human.
For a great read on success/failure check out this little article: http://www.onbeing.org/blog/fail-better/7465#.VUFn55P8r2a