This is a true story (a real true story) I was reminded of this week and I thought I would share it with you. It relates to a time in my life that at one level was highly forgettable, yet at another level was one of the most powerful seasons of my life and is very much a part of who I am today.
I lost everything in the nineties – for a whole bunch of reasons, but mostly because I just did not have the emotional or spiritual character to handle the business and financial success that came relatively quickly after I started my first business. That’s a whole story in itself – for another time.
Anyway, it was during that time that I called into a local Macca’s for a baby burger which was all I could afford at the time. It was not a good time and I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders (you know, self-pity, “why me”, “its not fair”, “its all too hard” – those weights!). I bumped into a bunch of lovely mums and children that I knew from the better times. So putting on my bravest face I was chatting away pretending all was OK – as you do. Then we heard this almighty scream from the back of the restaurant and one of the little 5 year-olds came up screaming with only the cone part of his 30 cent ice-cream. He had dropped it and lost the ice-cream bit. He was devastated, as only a five-year-old who has lost his ice-cream can be.
Us grown-ups all laughed, because we knew it was only an ice-cream. But to the little fella, it was worse than the end of the world. Well it only took a few minutes for someone to replace the ice-cream. And what a transformation! Not only was it NOT the end of the world, but it was a better world, because he now had a whole new ice-cream plus what he had eaten of the previous one. He was happy as…
We laughed and talked some more and I said my goodbyes. As I walked to the door I could feel the weight of my problems descending once more. Now I am a man of faith and a believer, but it is amazing how quickly we can let adverse circumstances take our eyes off our faith and that Source of help in times of trouble.
But then! As I walked across the threshold it hit me like a blast of hot air – “from God’s perspective, all my problems were just about the size of a 30 cent ice-cream. I had completely lost my perspective, like the 5 year-old, and allowed myself to be driven into a state of anxiety and depression by my circumstances.
That moment is deeply etched in my consciousness and had a profound effect on my life. From that time onwards, I knew that I was not defined by my circumstances, but by my ATTITUDE TO my circumstances.
And that is my moment of clarity for this week. Perhaps to take a moment to reflect as we come towards the end of the year. Have we got the right perspective on our circumstances, good or challenging. And whatever your philosophy, are you connected to and drawing on the emotional, relational or spiritual resources that help you keep a healthy perspective.
All the Best, Brian
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