There’s this poem in Mitch Albom’s Have A Little Faith that picqued my curiosity:
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she,
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.
— Robert Browning Hamilton
Let us consider the message of the poem and ask ourselves, is this true? That we learn more from pain, suffering, adversity, depravity; than we do when we are happy, content, plenty, abundant? In a way, it is. We learn to save when we have meager earnings…we learn to make do without, to “tighten our belts” as the old adage goes. We learn not to play with fire when we get burned. We learn not to trust when we get lied to. We learn to appreciate what we have, food, money, employment, health, possessions, opportunity, family, friends, spouse, children; often when they are taken away from us. There’s a line from song performed by Chicago entitled “Hard Habit To Break” that captures the essense of this:
“Don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and I found out a little too late…”
It’s ironic and sad that we learn the most from the negative things that happen in our lives. But should we be reduced to a pitiful shell before we realize the blessings that have been given to us? How many would gladly trade places with us right now? I bet there are a lot. You doubt that? We complain about getting stuck in traffic, when in a lot of places, people need to walk several hours just to get where they need to go? We complain about eating leftovers, or worse, eating the same dish twice in a row, when there are thousands dying of hunger. Let us be grateful for what we have, because somewhere someone is a lot worse off that us! Let us be grateful for whatever we have.