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Don't forget the silver lining
Posted Nov. 3. 2006

Yelena Ovcharenko
LV Life Editor

It is unbelievably frustrating when I am halted in bumper-to-bumper traffic 10 minutes from my destination because of a car accident on the 10 West Freeway, or when I lock my keys in the car 40 miles away from home and it takes the tow-truck driver an hour to unlock the car door. Losing a six-page essay right before I hit the save button because of a power outage is nerve wracking as well. Not to mention getting the front bumper of my car torn off in a hit-and-run accident one block away from my house.

This is the beginning of a long list of misfortunes that I recently encountered. However, I won't fail to admit that I'm not the only one facing difficulties and road blocks in life.

For a long time my question to these inevitable circumstances was why. Why do we have trials? Why are there moments in life when it seems that all hell will explode and crumble (even though my examples don't reach this extent). Why are there unexpected tragedies? Why do bad things happen to good people, and why do bad people get away with evil?

After life threw a few more curve balls my way the pieces to this puzzle began to create the big picture.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, an 18th century preacher from England said that difficulties help us find out who we really are deep down inside.

“Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.” Spurgeon said. “Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties. “The nerve-wracking obstacles make us smarter and expand our creativity.

To some extent, the more difficult moments we have in life the more advanced our thinking becomes.

“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it,” said Niels Bohr, a Danish Physicist and the first person to apply the quantum theory.

Another positive aspect of difficult moments is the silver lining, which we only notice after a devastating storm.

“No one can better bask in summer's balm than those who have endured winter's bite. Similarly, it is those who have suffered through life's darkest hours who are able to truly savor the bright dawn of happiness,” said Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher.

Being late to a meeting, having to restart a project from scratch after finishing and learning to live without a car for a month are the outcomes of my difficulties.

However, they have made me stronger and humane. They bring wisdom and experience, and the more difficult obstacles we face the more we grow in endurance.

Winston Churchill embraced difficulties and withstood his trials, looking at every difficulty as an opportune moment. “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won,” Winston Churchill said.

However Dan Rather, who had a recent encounter with misfortune says that the uncertainty of life keeps us going.

“If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all,” Dan Rather said.

Next time you're having a difficult time, seize the moment to grow in knowledge, character and endurance.

Look at the glass half-full instead of half-empty.

Yelena Ovcharenko, a senior journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at