Monday, March 10, 2008

"God never intended that strong, independent beings should be reared by clinging to others, like the ivy to the oak, for support. The difficulties, hardships, and trials of life -- the obstacles one encounters on the road to fortune -- are positive blessings. They knit his muscles more firmly, and teach him self-reliance, just as by wrestling with an athlete who is superior to us, we increase our own strength and learn the secret of his skill. All difficulties come to us, as Bunyan says of temptation, like the lion which met Samson; the first time we encounter them they roar and gnash their teeth, but, once subdued, we find a nest of honey in them. Peril is the very element in which power is developed.
"Ability and necessity dwell near each other," said Pythagoras. "He who has battled," says Carlyle, "were it only with poverty and hard toil, will be found stronger and more expert than he who could stay at home from the battle, concealed among the provision-wagons......."
When I wrestle with my grandchildren, I get them in a hold and squeeze strong enough so that they feel it is impossible to get away, but then as we roll and tumble, I relax the grip just enough that they can, if they use all their strength, free themselves.
William Mathews, LL.D., Photo by John Crosley

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