I believe that right now, you are facing a tough battle in your personal life that few are aware of. I know it is difficult and I know that it may even feel like there is no point to it or that no good could possibly come from it. If this is you, I am writing this blog to you. I want you to know that there is a purpose to your suffering. There is a reason for everything.
All of life’s events are so intricately intertwined that I believe you must trust in Providence to bring about good ends. I firmly believe that God does this.
Let me tell you a story from my personal experience to illustrate:
When I was 5 years old, my parents enrolled me in martial arts classes. I don't remember asking to be enrolled, but I do remember the classes. I remember being asked to do an axe kick one day (remember, I'm 5 years old). After 2 failed attempts, I looked at the instructor and told him I couldn't do it. He said "Try it again." I repeated that I could not. He then did something that you may not agree with. He said to me, "Then your class is over. Go sit outside and wait for the class to finish." I was totally embarrassed. At age 5, I don't think I could be very angry yet, but I was embarrassed. The other kids had to watch me leave the mat and go sit outside in the hallway. I remember crying on the steps but I do not remember what I was thinking.
How dare this instructor make me sit out of class! Even at age 5 I remember feeling that my pride was hurt. I didn’t know it at the time, but God was testing my attitude. Would I allow my pride to make me quit or would I humble myself and resubmit to instruction and guidance?
I cannot remember if my parents were attending and saw what happened or not. But I do remember my Dad telling me later, "I thought that was the end of martial arts for you. And since we were not particularly attached to it, we would have pulled you out if you didn't want to do it anymore."
To this day, I am not sure why I went back. I had been embarrassed and humiliated in front of a full class - in front of my peers. The instructor was not a particularly warm and cuddly man either. So why did I go back? Like I said, I really don't know. All I know is, is that had I quit, I would never have met my other instructors. You see, I spent 1 year in that school and then my family moved. Once we got set up in the new house, we found another school closer to us. I am still training with the founder of that school, 21 years later. This Feb marks my 22nd consecutive year of martial training.
I have gone on to do things that nobody else in history has ever done at such a young age. Before age 30, I have interviewed the greatest and finest protectors in the country. I have trained with and been exposed to methodologies that even elite military units do not often have access to. I say these things not to impress you but to impress upon you that there is probably a similar incident in your own life. I can take credit for none of the things I just listed. I can’t even tell you why as a 5 year old I didn’t quit, I just kept going. I don’t even remember making a conscious decision about it. I just kept training. This was a real turning point that had I decided otherwise, would have completely altered my life. I know you have faced similar incidents in your own life. Do you trust the process? Do you trust Providence that there is a purpose?
To go back to my example again - if I had quit that day, I never would have gone to the other school. If I don't do that, I don't meet those instructors who to this day are mentors and teachers in my life. If I don't meet them, I don't get plugged in with another instructor who has given me access to the source of all things martial from the time I was 13 years old. Without them, I do not continue training and I do not become an instructor myself, without that, I never would have gone on to write a book (working on a 2nd), or save the lives of 2 unborn children. Let me explain:
When I was 19, I had stepped away from a really toxic, high school girlfriend. I was sad, angry, bitter and not a fun person to be around. In the aftermath, I wanted to find something fun again so I reached out to a young girl I had met at the same party I met my ex. She was a piano player and teacher and I had played piano as a kid and wanted to get back to it. Being a college student, I had no money, but I remember a conversation I had with her at the party: she wanted to learn personal protection. Since we both had something the other wanted, we traded talents.
In one of our classes, I taught her how to fall correctly so as to prevent injury. One fall in particular, the front break fall. We spent maybe 45 minutes on this skill in one session, 8 years ago.
Fast forward to when my friend was pregnant with her first child. She was 8 months pregnant (this was 3 or so years ago) and it had been 2-3 years since I had last trained her. She tripped going up the stairs with her 8 month baby-bump pointing directly at the edge of the step. Instead of falling on the bump and potentially injuring or killing the baby, she did her front break fall, and saved the child. This happened again around 8 months with her second child. Another fall that she potentially saved the baby from by doing a front break fall.
Why do I tell you this story? Because had I quit at age 5 after being embarrassed in class, my friend may never have been taught how to fall properly and her children could have ended up with permanent damage or even could have died. The string of events that led to that was so complicated, and any number of decisions could have prevented me from ever instructing my friend in how to fall. Somehow, we ended up at that point.
I tell you this story to impress upon you that while you may be suffering now, you cannot see the final end. You do not know how your suffering today will save another person (or even yourself) from greater suffering tomorrow. I realize that my incident on the mat was just a minor twinge of embarrassment - it could have been way worse. But at 5 years old, I could have easily quit and my parents wouldn't have stopped me.
I personally believe that Divine Providence didn't allow me to quit that day because I had a higher purpose to fulfill. Two little unborn boys who were nearly 20 years away from ever being born needed me to keep training. What future people in your life need you to keep fighting your battle?
A successful man once said, "The only way you can truly fail is if you quit." Right now, I'm not talking about good quitting. For example, I had just quit on a bad relationship back when I was 19 and it was the right thing to do - sometimes quitting is good. But that isn't what I'm saying to you. What I am saying to you is that you should try to keep all things in your life in perspective. Let's go back to my example and really come full circle.
If I don't date my ex, and end the relationship in such a way that motivates me to seek something from my childhood (piano playing) to feel good again, I may never have called my friend to do lessons. Obviously, if I had never called her and started a relationship with her, she may never have learned the vital skill that potentially saved her two children.
To make your mind really explode - I don't know what purpose her two sons have to accomplish in this world. Perhaps one of them is necessary to save someone else's life who is unborn as I write this blog? I am content not knowing. I am content living like a protector so that others may see more of life.
In your life, keep things in perspective. Who is counting on you now? What future people will benefit from your struggles now? You don't know and that's damn exciting.
Even if you never live to see the fruits of your suffering, keep in mind that someone may very well reap the benefits and owe their success and well-being to you. This is why a warrior persists in fighting the good fight. This is why to live the life of a protector is the most rewarding life there is to live. The gravity of my participation in my friend's children's lives is hard to fathom and it is an immense feeling of gratitude, unworthiness and humility that fills my soul when I contemplate it. I want that feeling for you.
Persist in your struggle my fellow warrior. You never know who is counting on you.
Live in the battleground,
Alexander Lanshe Sensei
Fall down 7 times, stand up 8 - Japanese Proverb
Welcome to the Anatomy of a Warrior Show!
National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.