Dealing With Life's Challenges
A True Story
on Jul 26, 2022
If there is anything I have learnt about life, it is that it's full of never-ending challenges. Such challenges as theft, injuries, conflicts, criticism, rejections, sicknesses, discouragements, career setbacks, technologies problems - just to mention but a few. And no one goes through life without encountering those challenges. Not even the rich, famous and beautiful.
Personally, I have faced more challenges than I care to remember. I have been spoken to rudely, been treated with contempt and suspicion, have had my property stolen, been sick and depressed, have wallowed in guilt and bitterness as well as gone through some pretty bad days - those days when all I have felt like doing is sleeping.
Challenge-filled though my life has been, I have been lucky that I am yet to encounter such heart-rending challenges as being diagnosed with a terminal illness or losing a loved one. But whether I like it or not, those are challenges I will eventually have to grapple with in the future because it is a fact of life that we all die in the end.
Of course there are heart-breaking challenges that I am hoping to never go through; I am talking of divorce, siring an unwanted child, losing a job when I have a family to raise or having a rebellious child turn to drugs and alcoholism. I believe I can avoid those challenges by practising the wisdom espoused in the Bible.
Yes, life is full of challenges that we all encounter as we journey through this crazy world that is the Earth. Perhaps due to the setbacks I have faced, I have come to be deeply interested in other people's problems; I have wanted to know them, to understand them and to feel them.
Several months ago for instance, I came across in a newspaper the story of a Kenyan woman who had one of her hands amputated to curb the spread of cancer to the rest of her body. I could feel her misery as I imagined the things she would be unable to do without one hand. If, for example, she ever enjoyed writing and playing the piano as much as I do, then she had to kiss those hobbies goodbye.
Then about a month ago, I read in an old Reader's Digest magazine another story of a white American girl who developed a rare genetic disorder that disfigured her face. The disorder caused one of her eyes to sink into its socket and her lips to curve in a way that made her appear like she was frowning all the time. Her disfigured face made her a target for bullies at school.
And then there are those not-so-spoken stories of teen girls who become pregnant when they are too young to raise a child. Some of them are impregnated while going out on a razzle with their friends; others as a result of rape and sexual assault. If you are one such girl, I can feel your worry as you contemplate on what to do with the foetus growing in your womb. I really do feel for you.
Such is life: encountering one challenge after another. Interestingly, some people - especially those from privileged backgrounds - don't know how to deal with the curveballs that life throws at us. Others claim to be walking in the truth but sink into depression at the first slight encounter with such minor setbacks as rejection and criticism.
As for me, I have to admit that I have had a tendency to turn to sleep and adult films when I have encountered my problems. I am now being forced to retrain my mind to turn to God for comfort and guidance since the Bible says that "the Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble; He cares for those who trust in Him." (Nahum 1:7)
My beloved reader, I exhort you to also come up with your own mechanisms of dealing with the challenges life throws at us. I suggest you find a hobby that you can engage in as a way of relieving the frustrations that well up in our souls as we encounter challenges. And if you believe in God like I do, I encourage you to seek His assistance through prayers. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on dealing with life's challenges, you might also enjoy another one titled "When Bad Things Happen" that I wrote three years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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My Writing Journey
A True Story
on Jul 21, 2022
"Writing," said Joshua M. Smyth, a psychologist at Syracuse University in the United States, "may produce changes in immune or hormonal responses to stress, and improve relationships and our capacity to cope with stress." Smyth found that writing about a traumatic experience eased pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients and boosted lung function in asthmatics. Other research has found that writing can also help lose weight, improve sleep, fight illness and slash stress.
Those benefits of writing, which I gleaned from an old Reader's Digest magazine, make me glad that I took up writing as a hobby. Well, writing is more than a hobby for me; it runs in my blood. For the past eleven years, I have never gone for more than a fortnight without developing the urge to write something.
When I first took up writing as a hobby, I would write whenever the spirit moved me. And I had a tendency to lie and exaggerate in the stories I penned. In spite of larding my writings with lies and exaggerations, I still felt pleased with the stories I wrote; so pleased that I would share them with friends via email and social media. How elated I would become when some of my friends commented that my stories were riveting!
Sometime in 2016 when I re-read some of the stories I had written in the previous years, I winced on noting how immature I once sounded. I am now glad none of my friends with whom I shared the stories found out that I lied and exaggerated in the stories they thought were riveting.
And that, my beloved reader, is the advantage of starting small - you make your worst mistakes when you are still unknown. I pity the kids of the rich and famous who grow up in the full glare of publicity; they never have the advantage of making privately the mistakes that are beneficial to career growth.
Coming back to my writing journey, the emotional high I used to feel after penning stories laden with lies and the positive feedback I received from some of my friends with whom I shared the stories lulled me into thinking I was a gifted writer. But how mistaken I was!
In 2018 when I began disciplining myself to write truthfully and regularly regardless of the mood I was in, it dawned on me I wasn't a born writer. At times, I would sweat over every sentence in an effort to make my stories flow naturally. I'd even go to an extent of removing my shirt and stretching my hands just to get my creative juices flowing.
For the past several months, I have enjoyed re-reading most of the stories I have written over the past six years since I gave up lying and exaggerating. Honestly speaking, I think I have grown into a good writer, though not as great as I would love to be. My hard work is paying off.
Even though I still sometimes struggle with creativity when I am crafting my stories, I can't help believing that if I keep on reading avidly and writing regularly, I will eventually morph into a great writer of international repute. My dream is to achieve the same level of success that the late black American author Maya Angelou attained. I do draw inspiration from Maya Angelou who quipped:
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you.My beloved reader, I beseech you to get into the habit of writing if you don't do it. While it's hard to be a good writer and even harder to make money out of writing, I can guarantee you that the joy and mental clarity it will add to your life will be worth the effort. Why not start writing today?
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on my writing journey, you might also enjoy another one on "My Story-telling Journey" that I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.