Overcoming Disabilities & Hardship | Inspirational Stories

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Today’s reading has been edited and adapted from A Cheerful Philosophy for Thoughtful Invalids by William Horatio Clarke, published in 1896.

As a member of the family of afflicted ones, and with the sincere desire of helping and adding a few rays of comfort and hope to our imprisoned lives, I wish to communicate cheerful and practical thoughts which are the outgrowth of my own years of physical suffering.

Instead of burdening your mind with quotations from ancient maxims, I will try to use a rational philosophy, and ignore my past bitter experiences, hoping for the good which may yet be derived from them, so that many others may be aided from the result of trials which have been so burdensome.

Our lives were not made in vain, and they will not be failures. Instead of despairing, we may be filled with hope. The pain which we suffer is the indication of life seeking to enter and restore, whether in our mental or physical organizations.

Without referring to the causes of our affliction (whether from hereditary tendencies, diseases, or through accidents), there is something for us yet to say or do which may render the influence of our lives a blessing to those with whom we are brought into contact, even though in some cases the prospects for our physical restoration may be hopeless.

As the bruising of fragrant flowers causes them to give forth a more ethereal aroma, so in our own lives, the good qualities may be brought forth by means of the afflictions which seem to press the life out of us. The corn is ground to obtain the meal, and the wheat for the flour. The maple-tree is tapped for its sap, and the sugar-cane is crushed for its syrup and saccharine crystals. The quartz is pulverized for the gold and silver, while the ore is purified by fire.

Through such processes is the immortal nature in which our real individuality resides often developed and made useful, and it is thus saved from the changes connected to the disorganization of the physical body; for we exist as individuals, independent of the apparently adverse conditions of the earthly frame.

The object for which we were created is the development and attainment of a true character in which every virtue shall prevail; and such a character must be ours, notwithstanding our frail physical constitutions. The virtues are developed through trials and temptations. Honesty is proved by not yielding to fraud, deceit, and dishonesty. Purity is developed through the combat when immoral temptations are resisted, and patience is attained through the long endurance of suffering.



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