The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

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The Yankee poet had it right.

When problems present opportunity exists.  There is no problem that will not teach and, if encountered and faced, make you wiser, stronger, more resilient and more confident.

There are no real cocoons in life, although many do hide.  You will know them by their illness, their maladjustment, the chaos they present, the problems that follow them everywhere.

Those in cocoons lived stunted lives.  I saw this in abundance in religious life where men (in my case) lived less in faith than as residents of a flop-house, in hiding from the world outside.

When problems come, they make us acknowledge them and life.  They requiring naming.  What exactly do I face?  In what order of priority might I respond? What can I do to attend to the source of the problem or the first of several problems I face?

Problems present as sequences, that is: moves or action that must be employed one at a time.  Pants on fire?  Find water.  Sit in it.

When problems appear, order yourself to patience – it takes time to attend to problems.  In this we learn the wisdom of “one step at a time,” and of humility, and hope.

Problems test faith?  Do I have it?  Do I trust tomorrow?

The Stoic philosopher Seneca said it well when asked if he feared death when he said: “Absolutely not, why should I be afraid of something I know nothing about?”

Seneca trusted.  His life was an adventure, a journey.  Yours is too.

Truth is: in life there are problems.  We survive by passing through them.  In that, we grow, gain insights, courage, and strength.

Acknowledging problems is like dreaming that you suddenly find yourself skiing on a treacherous slope only to awake and find that your are.  Your only choice – learn to ski.

Fear not.  Face what is looking at you, and pass through.  (Wisdom and gray hair will follow, but – oh my, life gets easier that way, and your humor becomes sharper and ever-present.  You become “a very tough out” and even a spike through the heart will seem manageable.)

Shalom.

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