So many times, lying just beneath the stories of tremendous success lies stories about someone’s dreams that were inexorably crushed; the pathway to success was paved with the agony of defeat. As we witness the defeat we wonder why something with so much promise had to end with such unbearable pain. It is only later as we see the good that emerges from defeat we begin to understand that perhaps there was a plan for greater good.
Many examples find their way into the hearts and minds of historians and finally into history itself:
1. Christopher Reeves, the Superman the world celebrated finished his life as a quadriplegic after enduring a crushing and life altering injury. It was inexplicable, how could this be? Years passed as we witnessed the incredible strides made in regenerating nerves allowing many, many people to experience walking again. The intense focus on this kind of life altering change spurred donors to fund research that made this possible.
2. Helen Keller was born healthy and normal and with great promise into a loving family. She was stricken with an illness at 19 months old that left her blind and deaf. This life altering illness became the catalyst for the historic lessons that brought communication to the deaf that we still honor today.
3. Thomas Edison was eccentric, relying on his wife Mina for constant companionship; she was his beloved friend and confidant. When she began losing her hearing he was heartbroken. Their communication was vital to him. The inexhaustible inventor began dedicating all of his time to creating a hearing aid to restore her hearing. His exhaustive efforts seemed to be in vain. He simply was not able to find the elusive answer and quit in disgust and readily agreed to allow Alexander Graham Bell to do something with his failure. His efforts were 1/1000 of an inch shy of total success, but close enough to become the father of telecommunications.
This happens in everyday life to ordinary people. It may be years before we understand why our hopes and dreams and imminent success is suddenly dashed to the ground leaving bitter tears and a trail of broken dreams. We may feel broken ourselves, wondering how to go on and why things had to change so suddenly and finally.
The great changes we encounter, those that irretrievably alter our path are never in vain. These are the rare times in our life when we must accept what we cannot change. Our life course is being altered in spite of our best efforts, and there is a cause. Our efforts are needed somewhere else; at a much higher level we have agreed to participate in this change. Although it may be hard to imagine, we really are willing. Knowing this makes it much easier to accept the fact that a new path will be opened that requires our efforts and presence, just wait and see!