Adversity comes into our lives at the most inconvenient times—at least that’s what we think. When we look back at those experiences we will often see the blessings that adversity brought, but we don’t see it at the time. All we see is the hardship, and it’s hard to be thankful for adversity in the experience. When we are exhausted, when we are financially broken, when it seems our lives are falling apart—what is there to be thankful for? We’ve all heard the expression “thankful for unanswered prayers,” but none of us are thankful at the time.

A few years ago someone mentioned the difference between being extremely angry and being an alcoholic. I thought to myself that there was a huge difference. This person said there was no difference: You are out of control with both. And then they explained why, and the damage that can be done emotionally to those around you. I had to do a self-examination and it wasn’t pretty. I have in my lifetime been very angry, and said some very hateful things, and words cannot be retracted.

While I don’t drink and never have, I have people whom I dearly love who struggle with alcoholism and I’ve wanted them to stop drinking. The person who said there was no difference between being an alcoholic and being extremely angry said compassion is the way to deal with both. I began to practice compassion and my relationships changed almost overnight. It was amazing and I was so thankful. Where there had been so much adversity, now there was peace. They are still alcoholics, but I can be compassionate without anger. I can’t change them, but I can change how I react and I can be compassionate towards them. With compassion there won’t be adversity in the situation. To have a good relationship with family and friends it is such a blessing.

There will always be adversity in our life…always. I like to think of adversity as that little grain of sand that makes the pearl. Sure, it’s an irritant. Life is an irritant. It’s a goathead in the bottom of your foot sometimes. If you live in New Mexico life often feels like a never ending wind storm, but there will be something good to come from it. You might not see it at first, but you have to be willing to look for it. You might not see it right away, or for years to come, but it will be there.

Things happen in life that you might not have chosen, you make mistakes, you move on. Your children make choices you might wish they wouldn’t have, you help them overcome. We have a grandchild that arrived long before our daughter would have planned. People said, “Oh! Aren’t you upset?” Well, it’s not what we would have wanted for our daughter at that point in her life, but how can you not love the child? When six years later you’ve made all those wonderful memories and enjoyed all that love! When he’s said things like, “Grandma, I love you five-ever. That’s more than forever.” That was a bit of adversity in our life at the time which became one of our richest blessings. The past is in the past, don’t bring it into the future.

Humor is a tool that you should always have with you. When all else fails, laugh. Laughter truly is the best medicine. It’s not always easy to laugh about adversity, especially when you’re standing ankle deep in toilet water, or in our case, septic water. Life in the country always seems to be about septic water. How is it that the septic tank always overflows or backs up when you have a houseful of company, or company coming? Is there a certain place one of us steps that triggers an overflow?

In all my years of living these are things I have proven to be true. Faith, hope and love brings richness into your life. Take them with wherever you go. Keep them tucked into your heart and never let them go.

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