Beliefnet
From the Masters

An excerpt from Learning to Dance in the Rain by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher

“Buddha said that fortune changes like the swish of a horse’s tail. Tomorrow could be the first day of thirty years of quadriplegia…the more you open to life, the less death becomes the enemy. When you start using death as a means of focusing on life, then everything becomes just as it is, just this moment, an extraordinary opportunity to be really alive.” – Stephen Levine

FOR SOME PEOPLE, life’s difficulties are much more than storms – they are horrific hurricanes. Enormous calamities can happen to anyone at any time – we never know who might be struck by tragedy.

We are grateful when it isn’t us. “thank God that didn’t happen to me,” we whisper to ourselves. “I don’t know how I would have handled such misfortune.”

And we are inspired by the example set by others:

actor Michael J. Fox and his valiant struggle with Parkinson’s disease
 
basketball hero Magic Johnson, living his life with the HIV virus,
 
physicist Stephen Hawking, who continues his brilliant scientific work despite being totally crippled by Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS),
 
Senator John McCain, who survived broken bones and years of torture as a North Vietnam prisoner of war,
 
Holocaust author Elie Wiesel, who wrote about his search for meaning in the living hell of concentration camps in Nazi Germany,
 
blind/deaf Helen Keller, who overcame her disability and went on to teach and inspire millions of others to do the same,
 
“Superman” actor Christopher Reeve, determined to overcome his quadriplegia and spinal cord injury caused by falling from a horse.

 

These people and many like them are amazing human beings – not just because of the suffering they endured – but because they experienced gratitude in the midst of disaster. They were grateful not only to be alive, but grateful to have found meaning and purpose. They became who they were – not in spite of their pain – but because of it.

To learn more about Learning to Dance in the Rain, please click here!

Reprinted by permission of Simple Truths (c) 2011. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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