Inspiration

By Charles Towne 

The story is told of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale as he was walking down a street in New York City one day he was suddenly accosted by a stranger.

Being quite famous Dr. Peale was accustomed to having people approach him on the street, except for the fact that this time the desperate man rushed up and grabbed Peale by the lapels exclaiming in a frantic voice, “Please Dr. Peale, you have to help me, I’ve got some problems, and I just can’t handle them anymore!”

Dr. Peale said, “If you will let go of my coat my good man, I will take you to a place that is full of people that don’t have any problems.”

The man, greatly encouraged by this promise of help, replied enthusiastically “Sir if you could do that I would give everything I own to go there, and I will be forever in your debt!”

Dr. Peale said, “You may not want to go there once you see the place, but come along, it is just a couple of blocks away.”

Dr. Peale led the man to Forest Lawn Cemetery where,  with a sweep of his hand Dr. Peale Pointed at all of the grave markers, and said, “Look, friend, there are tens of thousands of people in there, and I can assure you that not one of them has any problems!”

It has been said that the true judge of a man’s character is in direct relationship to the size of his problems and how he handles them.  I agree with that wholeheartedly.  Always keep in mind that only dead people are trouble-free, therefore, having troubles in your life is a pretty good indication that you are still alive.

The deal breaker for each and every one of us is how we approach those hard places in life, as insurmountable problems, or as challenges?

Some people view their problems as detrimental to their lives, others see problems as challenges, and once seen in that light, they are no longer problems but opportunities.

Perhaps you have had experiences in your life that made you stronger.  I know I have.  Perhaps, just perhaps, those experiences made you more aware, opened your eyes to new opportunities that possibly changed your life.

My opportunity, which I must admit to having perceived as a problem for several years, is caring for my beloved wife, Nancy.

Afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease as well as having survived multiple sclerosis for over forty years has admittedly been a challenge I would not have chosen, but such a challenge has offered me an incredible opportunity for personal growth, and to be something I don’t believe I would have been without the “problem.”

Remember, the only people that don’t have problems are dead, so be thankful for your challenges.

Thank you, Papa God, for calling me out beyond myself, far beyond my depth, in service to my sweet wife.   And thank you for giving me the ability and the stamina, both physical and emotional, to endure what some could possibly call the impossible task.  Thank you for your wonderful love Father, and for the opportunity to bless others with a smile and a kind word of hope and encouragement.  In Jesus wonderful name I ask it, Amen


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Great perspective Chuck! Even during “troubled times” there are opportunities available. God provides, we just need to pay close enough attention to notice them when they appear. Hope all is well with you and yours my friend. God bless

  2. Don, How often do we have the opportunity to brighten another person’s day? Sometimes what we do for others is the greatest gift we can give to a lonely, grief stricken world. So often we miss opportunities that were preordained by the father for us to see fulfilled. I wonder if some of those challenges were intended for us to work a miracle of love in a lonely world? Yeah, Just wondering? Chaz

  3. Hey Chaz, Always thought provoking, it occured to me that the difference is one of mindset! Think about yourself and you have problems, think about your fellow man and you have opportunities! We are told to love one another, not ourselves because we already have someone pretty special who loves us enough to die for us so I think we should t hink about His example when we interact with our fellow man. Let the focus be love and things just change for the best! Every once in a while,I try to remind myself of this with those RAK’s (random acts of kindness) it is a little sad that people find this so astonishing!

  4. Richard, I can always count on you to take the subject to another level, to another possibility. You are so right. This world’s woes seem less overwhelming, less dark, and the possibilities are so much greater, so much brighter and encouraging, in fact profoundly so when our focus is blessing others in Christlike service and love. Your comment provokes and stimulates ideas of possibility, that if followed have the potential of changing not only our lives but the lives of everybody we meet with ever greater aspirations of service and hope to the world. Blessings on you my friend. Chaz

  5. Steve, thank you so very much for the vote of confidence. That you are blessed and encouraged brings me great joy. Blessings to you and yours my friend. Chaz

  6. Yes, it is so true that our problems dwindle when we take time to help others, instead of wallowing in ourselves. When my sons were growing up, many times I would make a little game out of doing random acts of kindness. By encouraging them to help others, it was actually teaching them manners, as well as getting their minds off of themselves. They thought it was fun to hold the door open or pick up something for someone. Of course, as they grew up, I think it helped turn them into givers instead of takers. If we could all just put forth a little effort in helping others, we would be happier, more fulfilled people and the world, a better place. It is amazing how even words of encouragement can brighten a dark, dreary day. Wow, I can hardly wait for tomorrow, so I can have some more fun! Thanks Chuck, once again, for reminding and encouraging us to be more like Christ.

  7. Oh, Wow! CSG, Wise words indeed. Your words, “I can hardly wait for tomorrow so I can have some more fun!” are especially insightful, helping us through life in a way that must be pleasing to God. If we could only focus our attention on others instead of ourselves we would realize genuine happiness. I guess your phrase, “I think it turned them into givers instead of takers.” Is especially meaningful to me. May Papa God bless you and yours is my sincere prayer, Chaz

  8. Gosh, I don’t even know what to say. The article and all of your readers comments are so important and so true. Most of my life I have wallowed in all of my messes and problems, feeling I didn’t have anything extra to give or offer other people. Over time, but with quite a way to go, I have started to learn this better way of being in and looking at the world. Thank you Charles and for all the people already living this way…it helps pave the way for the rest of us.

  9. Kristin, what you describe is the human condition. Invariably, in order to be effective, it, life is best approached in the same way one eats an elephant, one bite at a time. This is called,”baby steps” and it is probably the best way to approach anything. This can and will result in a permanently changed life resulting in delicious service to mankind. Thank you so very much for your comment. Chaz

  10. Great “re-frame”! I tend to lean towards the more positive vocabulary…..”challenges”. These challenges often take us outside of our comfort zone, thus making everyone uncomfortable. This is such an important step to change and growth! I say bring it on…make me uncomfortable….it is a sign of moving forward…a sign of learning…and a sign that we are rising to the occasion! Wonderful article Charles!

  11. Dear NH, YOU ARE SO RIGHT! And yet it is as we venture outside of our comfort zones that we grow physically, mentally, as well as spiritually, so I agree, BRING IT ON, LORD, BRING IT ON!!! Thanks so much for the comment, Chaz

  12. EJ, DO i EVER APPRECIATE YOUR MOST FITTING AND APPROPRIATE ANALOGY. If the tree is protected from the wind it is a weak tree, and it will break at the first real trial. Yes, most fitting. God bless you and yours my friend, Chaz

  13. Very thought provoking article as usual and my fellow readers comments are spot on as usual. I learned a very important lesson in life many years ago to face every challenge head on. Perseverance and prayer can solve any problem if we put our minds to it. What doesn’t break us makes us…

  14. Mike, what is it about so many folks today that makes them want an easy out? Imagine Jesus saying, “Oh no! The cross is too painful, too hard, too risky, too much! Thank our wonderful Papa God that He considered we humans worth the risk, the pain, the difficulty, thus granting each of us the possibility at salvation. John Bunyan in his wonderful book, Pilgrim’s Progress, had his protagonist, Christian, face all sorts of difficulties and hardships, but he delivered him on the other side victorious. We need to persevere and we too will win the glorious prize. Blessings on you and yours my friend, Chaz

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