It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us….Charles Dickens
Certainly you’ve heard that opening line from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I didn’t realize the first sentence was all the above and a bit more that I left off. Wordy, but powerful, and these twelve words, unforgettable.
Life is ups and downs. Joy and sadness. Wealth and poverty.
Where are you, and more importantly, how are you reacting to your circumstances? Are you sitting pretty on a pot of gold, enjoying a lucrative career, fame? Do you have uninterrupted success and everything I dream of? My friend, be wary of the breezy, prosperous times. Enjoy them, but don’t forget these cliché reminders: keep it real, stay humble or stumble, pride comes before a fall, keep both feet on the ground, at the top we all sit on our bottoms, and everyone has to use the bathroom. I wanted to say we all poop but I thought that wasn’t very classy.
If your life is rough, if you are deep in some hole or walking through one fire after another, don’t give up. It is often in the midst of despair that life takes on new essence. We discover who we are and learn we can endure, grow, persevere. We find meaning in little things and embrace the preciousness of the small, good things that we do have. Thank God for the worst of times. The worst of times are the best of times.
Another Charles once said,
If God should always rock us in the cradle of prosperity; if we were always dandled on the knees of fortune; if we had not some stain on the alabaster pillar; if there were not a few clouds in the sky; if we had not some bitter drops in the wine of this life, we should become intoxicated with pleasure, we should dream “we stand;” and stand we should, but it would be upon a pinnacle; like the man asleep upon the mast, each moment we should be in jeopardy. We bless God, then, for our afflictions; we thank him for our changes; we extol his name for losses of property; for we feel that had he not chastened us thus, we might have become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial. Charles Spurgeon
The worst of times can be the best of times. I never did finish A Tale of Two Cities, but I sense if I embrace the opening line, I have a good understanding of the story. It’s life.