I am sharing the last part of an article which I believe goes right to the heart of the matter. It's a great reminder. At the end you can find the link to the full article.
Every Man’s Call to Defiant Gratefulness by MARCUS BROTHERTON on APRIL 8, 2013 (seen on http://www.artofmanliness.com)
That’s the challenge for all men. Most of us will not encounter life and death situations, but we will all encounter serious adversity. The interplay with adversity is human and universal.
How will adversity sit with us? Will we work through it, acknowledging that the trouble was genuine trouble and yet knowing that it strangely helped form us into who we are today? Or will we become victims of adversity, forever dismayed by it, perpetually sorrowing at our losses, continually hurt by our disappointments?
In simplest terms: Will that hardship make or break us?
My term for Burgin’s attitude today is “defiant gratefulness.” It’s what I have a bit of already in my own life, and what I want far more of.
The “defiance” doesn’t mean rebellion. Rather, it’s a determined sort of gratitude. It’s an attitude of resolve. Defiant gratefulness is when a man says, Screw it, I won’t be destroyed by hardship. In fact, I choose to see adversity as something that makes me stronger.
Imagine the opposite: what would your life be like if you never encountered any sort of a challenge?
A man who lives in a completely problem-free world—where he never needs to summon courage, or show backbone, or get along with someone who doesn’t agree with him, or have the fortitude to work out a problem without taking a hike—is a man untested. He’s a child.
Because of hardship, we see that we can be brave.
Because of hardship, we learn to have backbones.
Because of hardship, we are able to work amicably with people we don’t agree with, or we can shake hands in disagreement and walk away.
Because of hardship—and our ability to navigate through it—we become men.
Pulitzer-prize winning novelist William Faulkner (1897-1962) likened gratitude to electricity. “It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all,” he wrote.
In ancient history, St. Paul of Tarsus issued an extreme call. He was an older man by the time he wrote about the problems he had endured. Five times he was publicly whipped. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once an angry mob pelted him with stones. Three times he was shipwrecked and once spent a day and night alone on the open sea. Yet he extended this blanket call to defiant gratefulness: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
The “all” is a tricky word to navigate. No, we are not called to be thankful for the hardship itself. Nick the waiter isn’t asked to be thankful that his girlfriend cheated on him, much the same way R.V. Burgin isn’t grateful for an enemy soldier trying to stick him with a bayonet.
Rather, we are called to be thankful through hardship. Or in spite of hardship. Or, thankful for what the hardship produces when we see beneficial change in our character.
Can you echo the words of R.V. Burgin—Quite frankly, I’m glad I got to fight in the Pacific—whatever the specific adversity was that you went through?
Are you defiantly thankful?
That’s the invitation offered to every man today.
Read the Full Article Here:
It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but
Come what may, let us persevere. Cling to God, surround yourself with good counsel and friends who care not only for your material good, but your spiritual good. Dance, sing and play. Listen to music and sing in your car with the window down. Trials, temptations, disappointments will come, don't be surprised, rather be prepared like a warrior for battle. Be not afraid, you are not alone!
Poem/Quote: A favorite, from Pope John Paul II. We need saints who wear jeans, tennis shoes, go to the movies...
I would like to share a poem I read, which was inspired by Pope John Paul II who called on the youth to become Saints. I have yet to pinpoint when and where this quote from JPII came from, but I learned about it when in Brazil and the text is found online in Portuguese. Here is one of the best translations.
We Need Saints
We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies,
listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place,
but who let go of their power.
We need saints who have time everyday to pray
and who know how to date in purity and chastity,
or who consecrate their chastity.
From coast to coast, and continent to continent I am filled with experiences, thoughts, ideas and recommendations.