January 17 – Adversity and Truth

“Adversity is the first path to truth.” (George Gordon Byron)

When things are going well in my life, it can be easy to lie to myself. I can tell myself that it doesn’t matter if I lose weight, or exercise more. After all, things are going well. I can procrastinate to my heart’s content, because there are plenty of tomorrows. I can even be surly or rude at times because there are plenty of opportunities to make amends.

When adversity strikes, it takes up enormous amounts of time and energy. When I am facing adversity I have to dedicate so much of my personal resources to it that I no longer have the energy to maintain the self-lies in my life. It is when I am tested by fire that I have to face the fact that it does matter that my weight isn’t under control. I have to admit that my tomorrows aren’t unlimited, and that many of them are now filled with something more important than the things I have put off. And most of all I realize that being kind and loving isn’t negotiable.

I am not sure the circumstances of Lord Byron’s quote. It may be from his personal life, or a part of his poetry. But today it serves to remind me that there are “truths” in my life that are hidden from my view because so much of my life is going well. While I do face adversity on a daily basis, the vast majority of my circumstances are quite good.

I am not sure that this quote inspires me to particular action. The events of my life, and many other quotes so far this year are already prodding me along to do some things that I’d rather ignore. What it does to is put things in more of a perspective. I am certainly not alone in hiding behind the curtain that good fortunes provides. But it does remind me that, while they are hidden now, there are some hard truths in my life that are but one adverse situation away from being revealed.

I have been thinking on this quote for a full day, and I don’t have a pithy piece of advice for myself. So, this one will stay with me a while longer.

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