“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I do agree with Emerson that the world is all gates and opportunities but what if you wake up one morning to find that the world around you has collapsed? Not because you have lost someone dear and near to you, nor because you’ve lost your home due to financial difficulties, no. It has collapsed due to forces beyond anyone’s control, beyond anyone’s reach. Then what do you do when without warning you find yourself amidst chaos created by your surroundings, by circumstances much bigger than your mind could grasp? Overnight you are caught up in the devastation of civil war that has gripped your country and all at once your present and your future are taken from you and you are left with very little to choose from. Do you despair and join the ranks of different organizations like thousands of teenagers did at the time? Or do you make the most of what is left for you?
I was in high school when the civil war started in my country. When I look back at those days I realize how easy it was to get led astray. Those were times when the schools were closed and there were no jobs available.
I had reached my point of despair when I wanted to take the grade twelve governmental exams that would then enable me to attend university. After completing grade eleven in our village school, I had to go to the city for grade twelve, which I did after waiting six months for the schools to open. I went to school for only three weeks before it closed again due to the dire situation and I got stuck amidst the bombing in Beirut for four months before I could escape back home to my parents. Another six months went by and by this time I had lost all hope. And then one day my teacher came to my house to speak with me. With his encouragement and the support of my family, my mom and dad, may he rest in peace, I was able to continue. And as Albert Schweitzer writes:
“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”
Once again a true story by Dale Carnegie:
Half a century ago, another boy in London was working as a clerk in a dry-goods store. He had to get up at five o’clock, sweep out the store, and slave for fourteen hours a day. It was sheer drudgery and he despised it. After two years, he could stand it no longer, so he got up one morning and, without waiting for breakfast, tramped fifteen miles to talk to his mother, who was working as a housekeeper.
He was frantic. He pleaded with her. He wept. He swore he would kill himself if he had to remain in the shop any longer. Then he wrote a long, pathetic letter to his old school master, declaring that he was heartbroken, that he no longer wanted to live. His old schoolmaster gave him a little praise and assured him that he really was very intelligent and fitted for finer things and offered him a job as a teacher.
The praise changed the future of that boy and made a lasting impression on the history of English literature. For that boy has since written seventy-seven books and made over a million dollars with his pen. You’ve probably heard of him. His name is H.G. Wells.
“One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh