ENCOUNTERS WITH ADVERSITY
by Harry E. Grant 33 degree
THE NEW AGE - MAY 1948
Encounters with adversity should not crush out life nor destroy its
purposeful intent - happiness. In these encounters men should learn
the lessons of adversity, recognize their import and, through them,
eventually win. It is not necessary under adversity to go down to
Adversity is not an absence of but should reveal opportunity.
Adversities are not a greased skid to oblivion but, with a knowledge
of their instructional value and of the available powers for their
mastery, constitute highways to happiness and to success. Opposition
can be made to aid accomplishment.
If you have planted in the wrong soil, have failed to water or
otherwise ignored the essentials to a successful crop, you do not
rail at fate, repine, nor remain idle. You benefit by past mistakes,
comply with the requirements of all that is really controlling and,
ignoring whatever is erroneous, live and work for the future
expectant of success. Save as it contributes to the future, the past
Adversity, although ugly, is useful. For men to desire only the good
is normal; but strive as they may for achievement of their concept
of good, adversity does appear - and betimes so persistently that
they wonder wherein it has its uses. Adversity is unwanted; but, in
a world of experiences in which all is in reality only good, that
which is even temporarily general cannot be an unmixed evil. When in
the midst of adversities, thought may, therefore, be profitably
directed to their uses to the end of good.
Attempts to delineate adversity generally present only its ugliest
aspects, emphasize that it is useless and not to be desired. Into
this ugly and venomous setting, poesy, tearing aside the veil of
limitation and ignorance, presents adversity to the beholding eye as
a precious jewel made not only more beautiful by the contrast, but
useful as a symbol of victory drawn from the environs of defeat.
Adversity is not necessarily evil nor an adversary. It calls not so
much for combat with a superior power of evil as it does for greater
cooperation with the omnipotence of good.
Encounters with adversity are intended to be helpful, not hurtful.
They are valuable for the lessons they inculcate, and principal
among these is that the only assured advance toward success,
whatever that concept may be, is in accord with controlling law or
Instead of complaining at adversity, resignedly and inert through
hopelessness, the time may be more profitably spent in an endeavour
to determine solutions in accordance with right. This is one way
wisely to forget seeming grievances and troubles; for to remove the
causes of adversity is to open channels to prosperity. Loss, viewed
aright, is gain.
A right concept of adversity is essential to success, otherwise
unsound thinking will result in misdoing, or, worse still, in an
idleness wherein the apathy of defeatism will displace the energies
that properly should be utilized in accomplishment.
It is seen that whatever opposes establishment of the utmost right
must be destroyed, and that in this process are developed individual
ability, reliability, endurance, and that constructive activity
essential to success.
Those who have experienced great adversities, if they be not
self-indulgently crushed by their experiences but instead cultivate
an aptitude to cope with them, become the more capable to readily
contend with still more acute circumstances and conditions if such
should accumulate; a preparation through adversity which is not
infrequently a boon. Not to go down before adversity in defeat is a
proof of right and of power, the right which is might. From the
vicissitudes of adversities may be evolved victory.
Adversity is not of itself good, but may indicate to those who have
strayed or who otherwise have valuable lessons to learn the way to
Even to attempt the "impossible" under adversity may develop better
methods that shall prove the previous concept of impossible to have
been fallacious; and that which is then strenuously and rightly
endeavoured becomes an accomplished fact.
One of the lessons of adversity is that men should endeavour at all
times to build more securely - to advantage experience fully. When
that which was to have been our roof is torn away and our shelter
mercilessly exposed to opposing elements it is at the time but small
consolation, as mayhap we shiver in the wet and cold and helplessly
perceive the deterioration of our most treasured possessions, to
know that the roof that will replace the one destroyed will be made
the more secure for this experience; but it would be imbecilic to
fail to benefit by this encounter with that which seemed so adverse,
nor properly reroof because the first attempt had failed.
Deportment under success may be a good indication of character, but
the way men act during and toward those in adversity is of greater
import. Encounters with adversity disclose not only the false and
true in experience but also of those looked upon as friends. An
unexpected absence of genuine friends may indicate a need for
greater self-reliance or of being oneself more friendly; but, if a
pupil in the school of adversity has flunked, none should consider
himself a willow in the hand of fate to inflict fur ther
castigation. It is the bounden duty of all to aid in every possible
manner any who have flunked.
None should be made needlessly to suffer because he is down merely
upon the somewhat sanctimonious assumption that, if he will but view
his adversities philosophically and thus extract from the lees of
life the sweet wines of experience, it will ultimately contribute to
his individual success and probably to that of others. Opportunity
to aid should ever be advantaged, for lessons are learned in many
ways and in diverse manner.
Adversity is no respecter of persons, of position, or of place.
If adversities outstrip earning power and old age finds its lessons
still unlearned, this does not constitute grounds for further
suffering. Punishment in this particular is not a human prerogative.
This condition demands from humanity compassion and the helpful aid
of adequate social benefits. All, no matter how well-intentioned,
cannot so arise above adverse circumstances that they are assured
graduation in this schooling in life's lessons. Let us be
compassionate and so avoid some of our needless encount ers with
Adversity advantaged may reveal individual injustices, the removal
of which will make for greater social security for all.
Adversities direct attention to lowering skies which cloud our clear
title to the all of good.
When the Supreme Grand Architect of the Universe drew the great
designs for Creation upon His infinite trestleboard, He looked upon
the work which He had done and declared that it was very good; and
very good is infinitely good. So, during periods of adversity, we
should see ourselves and others not as they mayhap see us nor as we
all too frequently and so falsely see ourselves, but as our Creator
first saw us and as we must always have remained on the retina of
the Eye of His Mind, not as failures in any s ense, but the
perfection of His image and likeness. It is largely our own and the
lessons of others not learned aright nor properly advantaged that
make things appear awry.
Failure of our plans, our encounters with adversity, is but hope
deferred and never should prove a rock upon which we make shipwreck
of our common sense. Failure, in any sense in which it can then be
called failure, should be but the basis of a more assured progress
toward a better goal that we have previously failed to perceive. Do
these thoughts help? You will uncover further advantages from them
as you direct your thought constructively toward your encounters