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
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 lesson.
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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