Encounters with Adversity
Harry E. Grant 33°
Encounters with adversity should not crush out life nor destroy its purposeful intent — happiness. In these encounters men should learn the lessons of adversity, recognize their import and, through them, eventually win. It is not necessary under adversity to go down to defeat.
Adversity is not an absence of but should reveal opportunity.
Adversities are not a greased skid to oblivion but, with a knowledge of their instructional value and of the available powers for their mastery, constitute highways to happiness and to success. Opposition can be made to aid accomplishment.
If you have planted in the wrong soil, have failed to water or otherwise ignored the essentials to a successful crop, you do not rail at fate, repine, nor remain idle. You benefit by past mistakes, comply with the requirements of all that is really controlling and, ignoring whatever is erroneous, live and work for the future expectant of success. Save as it contributes to the future, the past is dead.
Adversity, although ugly, is useful. For men to desire only the good is normal; but strive as they may for achievement of their concept of good, adversity does appear — and betimes so persistently that they wonder wherein it has its uses. Adversity is unwanted; but, in a world of experiences in which all is in reality only good, that which is even temporarily general cannot be an unmixed evil. When in the midst of adversities, thought may, therefore, be profitably directed to their uses to the end of good.
Attempts to delineate adversity generally present only its ugliest aspects, emphasize that it is useless and not to be desired. Into this ugly and venomous setting, poesy, tearing aside the veil of limitation and ignorance, presents adversity to the beholding eye as a precious jewel made not only more beautiful by the contrast, but useful as a symbol of victory drawn from the environs of defeat.
Adversity is not necessarily evil nor an adversary. It calls not so much for combat with a superior power of evil as it does for greater cooperation with the omnipotence of good.
Encounters with adversity are intended to be helpful, not hurtful. They are valuable for the lessons they inculcate, and principal among these is that the only assured advance toward success, whatever that concept may be, is in accord with controlling law or right order.
Instead of complaining at adversity, resignedly and inert through hopelessness, the time may be more profitably spent in an endeavour to determine solutions in accordance with right. This is one way wisely to forget seeming grievances and troubles; for to remove the causes of adversity is to open channels to prosperity. Loss, viewed aright, is gain.
A right concept of adversity is essential to success, otherwise unsound thinking will result in misdoing, or, worse still, in an idleness wherein the apathy of defeatism will displace the energies that properly should be utilized in accomplishment.
It is seen that whatever opposes establishment of the utmost right must be destroyed, and that in this process are developed individual ability, reliability, endurance, and that constructive activity essential to success.
Those who have experienced great adversities, if they be not self-indulgently crushed by their experiences but instead cultivate an aptitude to cope with them, become the more capable to readily contend with still more acute circumstances and conditions if such should accumulate; a preparation through adversity which is not infrequently a boon. Not to go down before adversity in defeat is a proof of right and of power, the right which is might. From the vicissitudes of adversities may be evolved victory.
Adversity is not of itself good, but may indicate to those who have strayed or who otherwise have valuable lessons to learn the way to the good.
Even to attempt the "impossible" under adversity may develop better methods that shall prove the previous concept of impossible to have been fallacious; and that which is then strenuously and rightly endeavoured becomes an accomplished fact.
One of the lessons of adversity is that men should endeavour at all times to build more securely — to advantage experience fully. When that which was to have been our roof is torn away and our shelter mercilessly exposed to opposing elements it is at the time but small consolation, as mayhap we shiver in the wet and cold and helplessly perceive the deterioration of our most treasured possessions, to know that the roof that will replace the one destroyed will be made the more secure for this experience; but it would be imbecilic to fail to benefit by this encounter with that which seemed so adverse, nor properly reroof because the first attempt had failed.
Deportment under success may be a good indication of character, but the way men act during and toward those in adversity is of greater import. Encounters with adversity disclose not only the false and true in experience but also of those looked upon as friends. An unexpected absence of genuine friends may indicate a need for greater self-reliance or of being oneself more friendly; but, if a pupil in the school of adversity has flunked, none should consider himself a willow in the hand of fate to inflict fur ther castigation. It is the bounden duty of all to aid in every possible manner any who have flunked.
None should be made needlessly to suffer because he is down merely upon the somewhat sanctimonious assumption that, if he will but view his adversities philosophically and thus extract from the lees of life the sweet wines of experience, it will ultimately contribute to his individual success and probably to that of others. Opportunity to aid should ever be advantaged, for lessons are learned in many ways and in diverse manner.
Adversity is no respecter of persons, of position, or of place.
If adversities outstrip earning power and old age finds its lessons still unlearned, this does not constitute grounds for further suffering. Punishment in this particular is not a human prerogative. This condition demands from humanity compassion and the helpful aid of adequate social benefits. All, no matter how well-intentioned, cannot so arise above adverse circumstances that they are assured graduation in this schooling in life's lessons. Let us be compassionate and so avoid some of our needless encount ers with group adversity.
Adversity advantaged may reveal individual injustices, the removal of which will make for greater social security for all.
Adversities direct attention to lowering skies which cloud our clear title to the all of good.
When the Supreme Grand Architect of the Universe drew the great designs for Creation upon His infinite trestleboard, He looked upon the work which He had done and declared that it was very good; and very good is infinitely good. So, during periods of adversity, we should see ourselves and others not as they mayhap see us nor as we all too frequently and so falsely see ourselves, but as our Creator first saw us and as we must always have remained on the retina of the Eye of His Mind, not as failures in any s ense, but the perfection of His image and likeness. It is largely our own and the lessons of others not learned aright nor properly advantaged that make things appear awry.
Failure of our plans, our encounters with adversity, is but hope deferred and never should prove a rock upon which we make shipwreck of our common sense. Failure, in any sense in which it can then be called failure, should be but the basis of a more assured progress toward a better goal that we have previously failed to perceive. Do these thoughts help? You will uncover further advantages from them as you direct your thought constructively toward your encounters with adversity.