If Life Knocks You Down Seven Times, Make Sure That You Get Back Up Eight Times! What Doesn’t Kill You Makes Your Stronger!
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It’s human nature to hope that our difficulties in life carry meaning and that they’re never in vain. Although suffering is often undesirable, it can help us to become balanced adults, and it can also help our lives to make sense.
As Kelly Clarkson once suggested: ‘What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger!’
I want to share a story with you, that I first heard in 2008 while I was spending some time in Bali, Indonesia. I lived on a small island for almost two months while on route from Australia to New Zealand.
While there, one of the local fishermen told me a story that resonated with me to the core, and in the same way, I hope that it also resonates with you. In 2005, Indonesia was hit by a devastating Tsunami which killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed the largest part of the nation.
The story I heard, told of a woman who had lost everything.
The woman’s home had been washed away in the flood. She had lost her husband, her four children, her brothers, sisters, her parents and even her grandparents.
Her family home had been washed away, which was also her families place of business and primary source of income. Before the tsunami, the woman’s family had farmed their animals and land to generate revenue so they could, in turn, contribute back to the village and local community. She now had nothing other than the clothes on her back.
This woman had lost everything, and I have no idea what experiencing something like this would be like. As the months went by, the woman’s desperation grew, and her sense of loss became so overwhelming that she didn’t know what next to do.
The woman found her way to the local Holy man’s tent in a bid to alleviate the pain and hurt in some way and asked him for help.
The holy man sat there, reflecting on her words, and replied, “Dear woman, fear not. I can help, but for me to help, I need you to find for me a mustard seed from a home that knows no sorrow.
He continued, “If you can get me a mustard seed from a home that knows no sorrow, bring this to me and I will use this mustard seed to soak up and draw the pain and suffering of your life. Go now; I bid you farewell, and I bid you good luck”.
She went back out into her village, and as she began thinking about where it was she could go, she immediately thought about the hills. The community leader and his family lived in a mansion in the hills with beautiful grounds, where the townsfolk would take up their offerings, a percentage of their produce.
She presumed that the leaders of the village would know no sorrow, so she approached the house, banged on the door, and the head of the village came and opened the door.
He said, “Dear woman, what is it you want?” The woman broke down and explained her sorrow and pain and the quest the holy man had given her regarding the mustard seed.
The leader of the village stopped for a moment, to consider what the woman had just told him, then he replied, “Dear woman, I’m so sorry. Mustard seeds, we have plenty, but this is not a home that knows no sorrow.”
“My son is struggling with his sexuality; he doesn’t know if he’s a boy or girl. My daughter was caught pickpocketing last week, and the police have got her up on charges for theft. We have so much sorrow in this home, dear woman; I’m so sorry. I would love to help you, but I can’t, as a family, we have so much sorrow in our lives. I wish you all the best on your quest, though, dear woman”.
Dismayed, the woman carried on. As she was walking back down the drive, she wondered who she else could go and see. She thought of one of the local business owners who owned a shearing factory that had begun exporting overseas, thus generating quite a lot of income for the village. She knocked on the door of the business owner’s house and explained her sorrow, her pain and her quest to find a mustard seed from a home that knew no sorrow.
The business owner stopped and said, “Woman, I’m so, so sorry, we’re going through an economic downturn. I’m having to shut down elements of the business and laying people off. I may have to make people unemployed in this season, which could devastate some families. This is causing me such torment I don’t know the best way to handle this. Mustard seeds, I have plenty, but sorrow I also have much. This home cannot be the one that gives you the mustard seed you seek; we know so much sadness. I bid you all the very best for your quest”.
The woman carried on, walking back into the village and going from home to home. She began to realise how other people had also lost loved ones, businesses and homes. Her eyes were open to recognise that no home knew no sorrow.
That same day, she acquired a boat and sailed across to a neighbouring village in a final bid to find a home that knew no pain. As she walked around the village, all she experienced was the same. Loss, hurt, sadness and suffering. She could find nothing else to do, other than mother and comfort the surviving children who she met along the way. She knew what it was to want consoling, and she knew what it now meant to console.
The woman became the mustard seed who’s life soaked up some of the pain and sufferings of others. She realised that no home knows no sorrow, but what soaked up hers, was soaking up that of others.
Did her sorrow ever disappear? It’s probably irrelevant now … but one thing is for certain – often, it’s the experiences we have in life that shape and mould the direction of which we must take our futures.
There is nothing in this world that will give your life a greater sense of meaning that becoming the kind of person for other people, that you secretly always hoped for yourself. What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.
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