Finding the Blessings in our Adversities: Reflections on the Difficult Times in Life
A thunderous clap shook the congregation that sat this morning in the historic 2nd Unitarian Church of Chicago. It has been close to a month since I sat in the sanctuary of 2U, but the feeling of familiarity and community makes showing up there on any given Sunday morning a refreshing experience. I went with my girlfriend Hattie and good friend Rebecca to the service on a day that felt eerie, as if out of a science fiction film. A thick layer of fog enveloped the city, especially the tops of the high-rises along Lake Shore Drive. Then the rain came and as my grandmother used to tell me, “the angels were bowling again.”
This weather fit well into the themes presented in the service this morning. The sermon was titled, “The Blessings of Adversity.” The pulpit was filled by a guest speaker, a Loyola seminarian named Seth Fisher. A scruffy, skinny man in his mid-thirties, Seth shared stories about struggle and triumph in the midst of adversity, hopelessness, and darkness. He shared a powerful story of a time where he considered suicide as a path in life. He also retold the story of Aron Ralston, who was recently portrayed in the movie 127 Hours, starring James Franco. These powerful stories gave me an opportunity to reflect on the adversities I face in my life .
In many ways, I realized that the struggles I face in my everyday life are nowhere near as difficult or challenging as people who have severe forms of depression, drug addictions, death of family members or friends of natural causes or conflict/war. Instead my troubles are more inconveniences. Through listening to this sermon, I learned that I need to look at my struggles in life in context and with a grain of salt. I am feeling a lot better about the little things that bug me in life and now instead value all of the amazing things in my life like family, friends, and loved ones. Learning to love the blessings in our lives is important, and even more important is the difficult lesson of growing to appreciate the challenging points in life as opportunities for growth and healing.
Another important message I gathered from the sermon was about the importance of being there for friends in need. I think it cannot be said enough that we are social creatures and we need one another to survive in this world. When we come together and lift one another up in times of great sorrow, the weight of that difficult situation becomes a little lighter and one’s ability to see the silver-lining, the glass half full.
There are very dark times in our lives. Seth reminded the congregation this morning that when Nietzsche said, “what doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger,” he failed to consider those of us in the world who face terrible situations like PTSD or other experiences. Our job as people of this one global family is to be in solidarity with one another in these times, knowing that if the tides were turned others would be there for us. I have faith that there truly is a blessing in the adversities we face and I will continue on my journey seeking out those blessings, as Seth suggested, with every sacred, death-defying breath that I take.
Posted on May 29, 2011, in Reflection/Meditation/Prayer, Spiritual Practice and tagged 2nd Unitarian, Adversity, Blessing, Challenge, Community, Death, Depression, Hattie, Healing, Nietzsche, Sermon, Struggle, Suffering, Suicide, Support, Unitarian Universalism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.