The illness which culminated in an operation came upon me when I was not looking. It seemed that life stopped. Identity blurred. One hung up his personality with his clothes in a closet and became a case — the patient in room number 12. No longer quite a man, but a condition, a problem, stretched out there for daily examination, looked down upon, peered into, charted on paper with graphs like the rise and fall in the price of wheat.

It was this indignity, even more than the pain and the weakness and the boredom, that made the experience difficult for me to bear. To be something, and then to be nothing! One is singled out for suffering. He goes alone; he takes no one with him.

While it was true that every thing that had constituted a pleasant and satisfying life for me — my robust physical health, my interesting work, and all my books, my letters, my friends — while all these had been stripped away, I was still possessed of my own mind and my own thoughts. I had, after all, my own inner life. I had my life!

I began to reflect that so many men have owed their lasting contributions to the wealth of the race to some unhappy adventure of health or of fortune, some catastrophe of imprisonment or banishment where they, having mastered their own spirits, were at length able to live a complete life. I think it was in prison that Cervantes wrote Don Quixote; and Paul addressed some of the best of his letters from Roman jails.

The present moment, this burning instant of time, was all that I or any man could ever really possess or command — and I was allowing it to be ruined by anxieties of my own making. It came to me powerfully, that if I could be content at this moment, I could be content.

- Charles Grayson

We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being (Ephesians 3:16 NIV).

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

- Alexander Graham Bell

I never knew a night so black,
Light failed to follow on its track.
I never knew a storm so gray,
It failed to have its clearing day.

I never knew such bleak despair
That there was not a rift somewhere.
I never knew an hour so drear
Love could not fill it full of cheer!

John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922)

On Dark Days, God Opens a Window, Copyright © 1998-2012, The Family International