Bitter or Better?

by Joanie Butman


Being on a prayer chain is an honor but also a reminder of the struggles and hardships of life to which no one is immune. Recently, it seems I have been hearing so many heart-wrenching stories of  health, family and financial challenges - some with positive outcomes, some not. It made me think of something I wrote for friends in September which prompted some great discussions. It's about life's storms.

Following the hurricane this summer I was trying to jog along the beach, but the storm had unearthed so many rocks it made it difficult to run, forcing me to slow down. It gave me the opportunity to add to my collection of heart shaped rocks. At a slower rate I had the pleasure of finding rocks I would have overlooked at a faster pace. I thought how appropriate this exercise was and the lesson in it.

Storms have a way of stopping people, forcing them to put much of the day-to-day busyness on hold. It is often during times of distress that people open themselves up to others. It is an innate reaction – a call to action, a desire to help. So in a way, storms unearth hearts in people as well as those on the beach, and when we open our hearts we become more exposed in a way that wouldn’t have happened but for that storm. It is the same when personal tragedies hit. I have found the most unlikely of hearts melted by tragedy, exposed to the pain of life in a way that can’t be ignored or avoided. Sometimes the storm breaks through the strongest of barriers to wreak havoc regardless of how hard we try to prepare for it. I have also seen many transformed in the wake of the storm. My question is this: Why do some come through bitter, beaten and battered while others come through changed for the better, made stronger by the struggle?

We can only answer for ourselves. For me, it is faith that is the determining factor in how I choose to respond to life’s circumstances. What's yours?