By Bill Harley
I was a good athlete through my high school and college years; but once marriage, children and making a living took center stage, sports and exercise went into the wings of my life.
I probably would have ignored physical exercise except for one thing: I developed recurring lower back trouble in my late 20’s; and learned through calamitous suffering that the only way to keep the trouble at bay was to stay in shape. Consequently, from age 30 onward, I have started each day with 30 minutes of calisthenics that have kept my back purring instead of raging.
Now and then, I grow weary of this regimen or am late for a meeting and skip the workout for a day. By evening, I can feel the back pain returning; and this galvanizes my will to continue the discipline. It’s been clear now for 40 plus years: one of my lots in life is to commit to this 30-minute time of intense exertion every morning.
For the first 20 years, I felt sorry for myself having to keep this looming disability at bay; and resented having to rise each morning earlier than I would have needed to absent the threat. But by the time I turned 50, I started to notice that, while I was doing my repetitive and boring workout, I was reflecting on my life and values, bringing myself to account against those values, and planning my day accordingly, which was a great lead-in to my prayer and meditation session that followed. Starting then and up until the present time, the continuously looming back trouble has felt more like a friend that has guided me to maintain my physical and holistic health and well-being into my seventh decade of life.
While the threat is still there, my entire body, mind and spirit have been invigorated by this mandatory discipline. It is just one example of many in my life that have demonstrated the truth of the following scripture: The Creator says, “My calamity is My providence, outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly it is light and mercy”.
All people’s lives are filled with examples like this; but these patterns of “calamities” guiding us to “blessings” are easy to miss if we are not seeing them with our spiritual eye. To get better at seeing these dynamics in your life and leveraging them for growth, read Jean’s and my first book, Now That I’m Here, What Should I Be Doing?
To get better at making decisions in your life while taking these dynamics into account, read Jean’s and my second book, TRANSFORMED: How to Make the Decisions That Change Your Life