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Yesterday, my wife gave birth to a beautiful 6 pound baby girl. Our first baby. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world, sky dive from 17,500 feet, scuba dive, hike Mount Fuji and live in a self-built shelter out in the woods for a month, and none of those experiences measure up to the experience of holding my daughter for the first time. What a gift.

It was interesting to ponder that experience. My wife went through so much pain to deliver so much joy. This got me thinking that it is very much a metaphor for our lives. I really believe that there must be an opposite in all things; A yin and yang if you will. Our lives are filled with ups and downs, good and bad, pain and joy. Without understanding what is bitter, we can’t fully appreciate what is sweet. Our trials refine us and enlarge our context so that we can be filled with more happiness.

From my experience, I’ve noticed that when I’ve met and overcome my trials of faith and difficulties, afterwards my life would always seem to become so much more beautiful and enriched. It was as if that hardship enabled me to experience more of life. Brittle metals, when forged into alloy, become stronger. The soul’s alloy, forged in the refinery of trials is no different. So the next time you’re faced with extreme difficulty or hardship, think about the possibility that the Universe may be refining you, enlarging your context, so that you may experience life at a greater level than before.

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