“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney [Tweet this.]
On a flight back from Orlando this week I sat next to a woman with a Mickey shirt, Mickey ears and a Mickey bag. I asked if by any chance she’d been to Disney while in town. She nodded, smiled and said it was awesome. She then added, “But now I gotta go back to the reality of my crummy job and life.”
She was joking (I think!), but often we do try to use vacations to escape from the difficulties of each day, don’t we?
The day before my encounter with this woman on the plane, I had the honor of sharing the stage at an event with a gentleman who reminded me our goal should not be to escape adversity, but to embrace it. [Tweet this.]
As a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, Captain Plumb was shot down on his 74th mission. With his plane on fire, he ejected, parachuted and was immediately captured. During his six years as a prisoner of war he was starved, abused, beaten, neglected and locked in a small cement cell.
Six years is a long time. Think how much has changed for you since 2008. He spent more than 2,000 days in unfathomable filth, unspeakable abuse and constant pain.
During my time with Captain Plumb he shared how he endured. He had to figure out who he was, what his new purpose was, hold onto hope for tomorrow, discern how God could possibly use this experience for something positive and utilize every opportunity to encourage and be encouraged in the interactions with the other POWs.
One of the most amazing lessons Captain Plumb shared is how he felt about his experience. He was asked, “Wow, you are so normal. You have such a beautiful life today. How did you go through something like that and come back like this?”
Plumb responded, “You got it backwards. I came back like this because I went through something like that.”
My friends, this is a reminder we all need to embrace the hardship within our lives. Sometimes the best thing in the world for us is a kick in the teeth. The difficulties in relationships, crushing diagnosis, tragedies in family, adversity at work and monotony of life will either push you down or propel you forward. The key to remember is it has little to do with the event and much more to do with the meaning we assign to it.
Please don’t misunderstand: I don’t seek pain and I love vacations! I love time away, have already taken my kids to Disney and look forward to going back. The goal, though, isn’t to only to plan where you’re going for fun, but to also celebrate all you’ve been through – and become because of that journey.
So get your park pass. Put on the Mickey ears. Eat the funnel cakes and enjoy the rides. Just know that the greatest vacation you’ll ever journey to isn’t when you escape from reality, but when you wake up to the transformative gift of it.
I want to hear from you! Share your feedback on this post and let me know what you’ve learned from the adversity you’ve faced in your life.