Thomas  Edison was a prolific inventor.  He invented over 1,000 things, but he is best known for inventing the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, the microphone, the storage battery and talking movies.

It was December 1914, and he had already been working for ten years on the storage battery.  This adventure had greatly strained his financial situation.  One evening, spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room.  Within minutes, all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable material were in flames.

Firefighters from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the fire was so intense and the water pressure so low, that the fire was out of control.  Everything was destroyed and Edison was sixty-seven years old.

Edison’s twenty-four year old son, Charles, searched for his father during the fire.  He finally found him, calmly watching the fire.  “My heart ached for him,” said Charles.  “He was sixty-seven, no longer a young man, and everything was going up in flames.  When he saw me, he shouted, ‘Charles, where’s your mother?’  When I told him I did not know, he said, ‘Find her.  Bring her here.  She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.”  

The next morning Thomas Edison looked at the ruins of his life’s work and said, “There is a great value in disaster.  All our mistakes are burned up.  Thank God we can start anew”.  Three weeks after the fire, Thomas Edison delivered the first phonograph. 

My dear friends, we must never be discouraged by the difficulties and even the tragedies that take place in our lives.  

We all experience storms in our lives.  We must not be surprised that this life is a continual struggle.  Temptation, failure, difficulties, trials and tribulations are a normal part of our earthly existence.  To seek an easy and comfortable life without the challenge of difficulties is not realistic. 

Past failures and present disappointments keep people frozen in time, unable to move on to a better life.  We must never be afraid of failure.  Success can only be achieved by taking risks. We must not focus on the past; instead we should look forward with hope to a new beginning.

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