It took me a few moments to decipher what she thought was such an "opportunity."
She explained, "Every experience, for good or bad, can be viewed as a trial or an opportunity."
Rejection, death, loss, pain, ill health, winning the lottery, great kids, a loving husband, a jerk of a husband...any situation or relationship can all be viewed as something to be handled and endured, or an opportunity to find joy.
Over the last few years, I've tried to apply the "opportunity principle" to my life. No doubt, it is easier to see the opportunity in some situations than in others. Here are a few examples:
A friend shows up at my door with 44 oz. of the Nectar of the Gods (aka Diet Coke)--trial or opportunity? OPPORTUNITY! I get to spend time with a dear friend and my favorite drink.
O.k., that was a no-brainer, let's try a harder one:
The guy just above you at work takes all the credit for your ideas again--trial or opportunity? OPPORTUNITY! This is your chance to put into practice your communication skills and stand up for yourself and your ideas. You will find courage as you act courageously, and pave the way for others who have been bullied by the office jerk.
Your teenage kids aren't acting the way you think they should. They are being disobedient, lazy, and just plain rude. Trial or opportunity? OPPORTUNITY! There is opportunity for you to communicate with your child, spend time with them, get to know them and draw closer as a family. Perhaps you will see the opportunity that it is time to let go of your preconceived ideas of what is right and allow them to grow into their own person...Or maybe you can just send them off to boarding school--either way, you get the idea: Everything in life can be a trial or an opportunity.
Here's one more: You find yourself with an empty nest. All your little ones have gone off the college, or are now in school for the bulk of the day. You feel like you aren't sure what you are supposed to be doing, after all, you have devoted yourself to mommyhood, and you feel like, now what? Trial or opportunity? OPPORTUNITY! Find yourself again, take a class, visit a friend, go for a walk, join a book club, get a job, do something that makes the path light up for you. You have raised your children to be kind, funny and hard working, now let them fly and seize the opportunity to explore another facet of what makes you happy.
When faced with something difficult, I try to say to myself, "This is an opportunity." I tend to be more open toward whatever may be looming ahead. Sometimes the "opportunity" is to learn something new. Perhaps the "opportunity" is to act with more grace, kindness and love to ourselves and then to extend that love to others.
But what about the really tough stuff, you may ask? I would say, yes, even then dear one, there is opportunity. You get the opportunity to see what you are really made of, to realize your strength, to fight the battle and come out the other side triumphant, (and a bit bruised) but more loving and empathetic to others because of what you have experienced.
And that is an opportunity.
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