Friday, May 24, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

生活是艱困的,但也是美好的

By Jim Mathis

生活是艱困的。這是一個基本事實,而且我們若能愈早接受並欣賞這事實,我們就會活得更好且更快樂。讓我來解釋。

若我們知道生活是困苦的,我們無可避免地會面對許多試煉和困難,我們就能開始去把生活看成一連串需要解決的問題。我們能面對每一天,知道我們有機會去處理麻煩的狀況,解決問題,應付困難。每一次我們解決了一個問題,我們會覺得自己得勝了。我們的勝利愈多,我們就愈快樂。快樂總是在某種形式上與勝利有關。

另一方面,假如我們把生活想成一個悠閒的旅遊,一個從母腹到墳墓的平順旅行。我們面對的每個問題將被視為一種中斷,對我們「快樂」生活的干擾。當這些干擾愈來愈多,我們會發現環境變得難受和不滿足。

爾瑪.邦貝克(Erma Bombeck)是幽默大師和作家,她寫了兩本描述這兩種態度的書。其中一本書名是「化糞池邊的草總是比較綠The Grass is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank」,另一本書名是「若生活是輕鬆美好的,為何我總是在坑洞中?If Life is A Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I Always in the Pits?」你認為哪一本書反映出我們應該用樂觀的態度去面對生活中的艱苦和逆境?

我一直想作企業家的主要原因之一是我喜愛解決問題。當你擁有自己的事業時,生活就會不斷有問題要解決。可能有些人無法成為企業家,因為他們不把解決問題當作動力或挑戰,而把它們認為是討厭的干擾和障礙,阻擋了他們夢想的實現。

我發現這在我的攝影事業是真實的,尤其當我在修復老舊或受損的照片時。有時這工作非常有挑戰性,要我用創意、巧手和我所能運用的每種科技資源。然而,我不會因困難而灰心,反而把它視為一個學習的機會,可以運用我多年的經驗--而且當我把顧客珍惜的照片修復好,為他們帶來喜悅。

這對每一個行業都是一樣,不論你是在銀行、零售、工程、銷售、房屋修繕或其他行業。你的生活可能很充實且有回報--甚至勝利--當你把每一天看成不同的一天,伴隨著新的挑戰和問題讓你去面對。

同樣的,聖經也真實地談到生活的掙扎。「就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,忍耐生老練,老練生盼望;盼望不至於羞恥,因為所賜給我們的聖靈將 神的愛澆灌在我們心裏」(羅馬書5章3-5節)。聖經也說:「我的弟兄們,你們落在百般試煉中,都要以為大喜樂;因為知道你們的信心經過試驗,就生忍耐。但忍耐也當成功,使你們成全、完備,毫無缺欠」(雅各書1章2-4節)。

是的,這是真的--生活是艱困的,但也是美好的。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他還寫了一本書「一般民眾的高度攝影表現」,那是一本有關數位攝影的書。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

省思 / 討論題目
當你遭遇生活中的困境時,你一向如何回應? 當面對困難的情況時,把它當成去解決問題,而不是對我們平靜生活的干擾。這樣會有什麼益處? 你是否喜歡解決問題?為什麼? 聖經說,在每天的生活中經歷痛苦和試煉是有益的。你認為這是否切合實際?或者你認為我們應該盡量避免各樣的麻煩?請解釋。若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言12章11節,21章5節,24章30-34節;羅馬書8章35-39節;彼得前書1章6-9節,4章12-13節


LIFE IS DIFFICULT, BUT LIFE ALSO IS GOOD
By Jim Mathis

Life is difficult. This is a basic fact and the sooner we can come to accept and appreciate that reality, the better off and happier we will be. Let me explain.

If we know life is hard, that it is inevitable we will face many kinds of trials and difficult situations, we can begin to see life as a series of problems to be solved. We can face each day knowing we will have an opportunity to address problem situations, work through issues, and deal with difficult circumstances. Each time we solve a problem, we can feel victorious. The more victories we chalk up, the happier we are. Happiness always seems to be related to victory in some form.

If, on the other hand, we think life is supposed to be a leisurely cruise, a smooth journey from womb to grave, every problem we face will be perceived as an interruption, a disruption to our "happy" life. As these interruptions build up, we will find ourselves becoming embittered and discontented with our circumstances.

The wonderful humorist and writer, Erma Bombeck, authored two books that described these different attitudes. One she titled, The Grass is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, and the other bore the title, If Life is A Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I Always in the Pits? Which one do you think reflected the view that life”s struggles and adversities should be approached in an optimistic manner?

One of the main reasons I have always been an entrepreneur because I enjoy solving problems. When you have your own business, life is a continual series of problems to be solved. Perhaps some people fail as entrepreneurs because rather than finding motivation and challenge in solving problems, they choose to regard them as annoying disturbances and obstacles blocking the realization of their dreams.

I have found this to be true in my photography business, especially when I engage in the restoration of old or damaged photographs. Sometimes this work can be extremely challenging, requiring me to use all the creativity, ingenuity and every technological resource I can muster. However, rather than becoming disheartened by difficulty, I see it as an opportunity to learn, apply my years of experience – and bring delight to customers when they receive cherished photos I have been able to restore.

This holds true for every enterprise, whether your vocation is banking, retail, engineering, sales, home repair or some other pursuit. Your life can be full and rewarding – even victorious – when you view each day as bringing something different, accompanied by new challenges and issues for you to confront.

In a similar way, the Bible speaks honestly about life”s struggles. It says, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:3-5). It also states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

Yes, it is true – life is difficult. But it is also true that life is good.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How do you typically react when you encounter difficulties in life? What can be the advantage of approaching difficult situations as problems to be solved, rather than as interruptions or disruptions to our peaceful lives? Do you enjoy solving problems? Why or why not? The Bible speaks about the benefits of experiencing suffering and trials in everyday life. Do you think this is realistic, or do you think our focus in life should be to avoid problems of all kinds, as much as possible? Explain your answer.If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 12:11, 21:5, 24:30-34; Romans 8:35-39, 12:12; 1 Peter 1:6-9, 4:12-13

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