Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This is a Test

"Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records."
-William Arthur Ward

"This is a test. This is only a test."

Remember that annoying public service broadcast interruption that would break into your normally scheduled programming on television? It was designed to test an alert to be used in case of emergency; but really it broke in on my valued time with Vanna White or Three's Company. You couldn't wait for those emergency alerts to be over! However, somehow we knew it would serve some greater purpose.

The more you live - notice I purposely substituted "more" for "longer" - the more you learn about interruptions and obstacles. I remember studying the concept of adversity when coaching soccer with the goal of helping my teams through troubled times. One of the trials of a coach is how you confront defeat and somehow turn it into a teachable moment and an opportunity for growth. One fact I learned was that a lot of times you lose because you put yourself out there, and putting yourself in a position vulnerable to losing is, indeed, necessary in learning to win. Adversity, in short, is a test. It's only a test.

The saying, "everything happens for a reason" always rubs me the wrong way. I get it; it's all part of a plan, and either God or the forces of nature will always steer us toward some equilibrium. However, to me that theory always seems to propose that we are powerless, when contrarily the "reason" is that we are presented with an opportunity to be an active participant in our own rescue. Winning is what happens after the hurdle of the last thought of giving up. Adversity gives us that opportunity.

It's all a test.

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