The Blessing in Adversity
By Michael Angier
When I was about five years old, I lived with my family in Enterprise,
Alabama for a few months while my father attended an advanced aviation course at
nearby Fort Rucker.
What makes Enterprise, Alabama especially memorable is a strange monument
they have in the middle of town. You can't miss it. In fact, you have to drive
around it because it sits right in the middle of the road. The monument is a
statue to the boll weevil.
It's probably the only monument in the world erected in honour of an insect.
It certainly wasn't done because of its aesthetic value-the boll weevil is a
particularly ugly-looking creature. Surprisingly, it was erected because of the
devastation the boll weevil caused to the cotton crops of the surrounding area!
Why did they honour this pest? Well, had it not been for the boll weevil, the
local economy would have continued its unhealthy dependence on its one-crop,
one-product economy. Until then, everything depended entirely on cotton. When
the boll weevil came, the farmers and all the other businesses that were reliant
on the cotton farmers were forced to recognize the need to diversify.
In the long run, they saw that the boll weevil had, in fact, done them a
favour by destroying their crops. No longer were their eggs all in one
"cotton basket." They started raising hogs, peanuts and other cash
crops, and the entire area was better off for it.
I think it is to those southern farmers' great credit that they were able to
see this "adversity" for what it really was-a great blessing. Too
often, we see difficult times as something to avoid-something only to endure. We
usually don't see the benefit until much later-if at all.
If we look back at the things in our lives that were the most trying, the
most painful and frustrating, we have to admit that there was value in it (if
you can't see this, you probably aren't seeing it from a distant enough
Our lives are far more enjoyable (certainly more instructional) if we view
each thing that happens to us as just that-a happening. Remember, it's not what
happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that makes the difference
in the quality of our lives. I believe that everything that happens can be a
Next time things don't seem to be going the way you want, ask yourself what
the positive aspect is. What's the benefit in the adversity? You'll have greater
enjoyment and learn more in the process.
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