"Smash!" It was a sunny autumn Saturday. My cousins and I were playing baseball in my aunt's back yard. I still recall the crack of the bat and sound of breaking glass as a beautiful line drive sailed right through the center of my aunt's dining-room window.
My aunt - who understood that young boys did these things - gave us the chance to do the right thing. She asked us to help her pick up the pieces. After cleaning up the glass, we were able to continue enjoying our game - this time, down at the city park!
Challenges help us to develop strength and resiliency. However, there is another aspect of life's challenges to consider.
Sometimes things break beyond fixing. Certain mistakes are irreversible. Tragedy may take away our physical abilities or even the life of someone we love. We might spend years preparing for a career or building a relationship only to see it stolen by circumstances beyond our control. Unlike shattered windows, we cannot always replace shattered hopes, dreams, and relationships. However, that is not the end of the story.
In times of disappointment, our first course of constructive action may be to pick up the pieces. We need to allow ourselves to feel the pain and move through the grief or sense of unfairness completely before we can start anew.
Picking up the pieces is not giving up. It is an act of responsibility and compassion toward the self - a process of cleansing the soul, putting the past in order, and releasing fearful thoughts. It brings closure that allows us to move forward with acceptance, forgiveness, and serenity.
Dag Hammarskjold (1905 - 1961), said, "Life only demands from the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible - not to have to run away."
We have the strength to see life's seemingly unfair demands in a miraculous new way. We can choose to see blessings where the world would have us see only tragedy or regret. Instead of surrendering our aliveness, we find renewed courage and new opportunities to serve humanity.
Our greatest blessing is the discovery that we not only have the strength to pick up the pieces of our own shattered dreams, but also to help others rebuild their lives. We can ask the Creator to outshine fear with thoughts of love and compassion. This prayer can reveal blessings even in the toughest of times.
A close friend of mine who passed at a young age once wrote, "We will learn to see life's miracles. We will become aware of our spiritual kinship with all of mankind, picking up the pieces when they fall."
Indeed, the hardest of times will teach that compassion is one of the greatest miracles when dreams get shattered. "Picking up the pieces when they fall" begins a journey to living anew with love, courage, and hope for a bright future.
? Copyright 2005 by Steve Brunkhorst. Steve is a professional life success coach, motivational author, and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular mini-zine bringing great stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts to help you achieve more in your career and personal life. Get the next issue by visiting http://www.AchieveEzine.com