Sometimes I think it would be so nice to be free of pain and struggle. What would it be like to have just enough time to get ready in the morning, to enjoy time with the family, for everyone to be in a good mood? What would it like to enjoy the morning workout, to see results immediately? What would a problem-free commute be like, with no red lights and no crazy drivers?
What would it be like to be able to communicate effectively with family and co-workers, with no misunderstandings or misinterpretations? What would it be like to start a project and finish it without being interrupted? What would it be like to have healthy, tasty food prepared on-site whenever you were hungry?
What would it be like to not worry about disease or death or divorce? What would it be like to be unconcerned about finances or home maintenance or mounds of dirty dishes or laundry?
No one lives a life like that. Everyone has struggles, from the mundane task of trying to find clothing unwrinkled enough to wear to work, to the horrific ordeal of facing the sudden death of a close friend or family member.
In fact, the multitude and magnitude of difficulties that other people face are largely hidden from the eyes of the public. I never know if the person I am chatting with in the hallway at work is currently struggling with relationship problems, emotional disorders, financial issues, or a past that won’t stay in the past.
As trite and old-fashioned as it may sound, the pains and problems that are a part of life make up who we are. The way we respond to these challenges will determine our destiny.
I am constantly inspired by people who have dealt with the worst life could provide- abuse, neglect, rejection, failure, betrayal- and have not only overcome those obstacles but used the experience to grow and to encourage others in similar circumstances.
Oprah Winfrey is one example of someone who spent most of her young life bouncing between the homes of different family members, knowing poverty, and experiencing abuse. She has acknowledged her past, and used it to come alongside others through her TV show and other media, and give them hope for their present and future.
Not only that, but she’s used her tremendous fame and fortune to continue to do good, reaching out to everyone from young Americans who need scholarships to girls in South Africa who need life skills and a purpose.
So, next time I’m tempted to daydream about a problem-free life, I’m going to remember how people like Oprah have overcome the seemingly impossible, and with their eyes on the prize, have moved forward with purpose to make this a better planet.
Maybe, with the right amount of luck, determination, and drive, I’ll obtain my ideal job, writing from home in my pajamas with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, sharing stories that encourage and inspire with the world. I don’t have to be rich or famous, but it’d be an accomplishment in itself to earn a living doing something I love.