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Imagine that before you came to this earth, you stood on the edge of the world, looked down, and made a conscious choice to live the life you are in now. I know to some of you this may sound strange, but just bear with me for a minute.

Imagine that you knew the situations you would face, the obstacles you would encounter and you willingly took your place in this life. And yes, that includes the loss and the illness and the abuse and the difficult relationships and the addiction, everything.

Imagine that you believe this is true. Why in the world would you do it? Why would you choose this life with all its challenges and heartaches?

Imagine that you chose it, because you wanted to learn and grow and stretch your spirit, because when you were still in your purest spirit form, you knew you are fully capable of handling it all, because you knew, with God’s help, that you could turn any negative situation in your life into something good, that the joy, the connections, the love would be worth it all.

What would it be like if instead of believing that we are randomly placed on this earth and just have to deal with what is thrown in our face, we believed that we chose this life because we have something to gain and are capable of navigating it all?

Imagine if every time a challenge knocked on the door of our lives, we greeted that challenge as warmly as possible and asked, “Why are you here? What message do you have for me? How are you helping me to grow?”

What if we believed that everything belongs, that everything in our lives is here for a purpose? That doesn’t mean that it will be easy or that we can’t or shouldn’t try to change it, but that we can change it little by little with less resistance, less resentment, more ease, and more empowerment.

Mary Oliver wrote a poem called "The Uses of Sorrow". It reads, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

I wish I could take away all of your boxes filled with darkness. It hurts me to see you struggling to carry them. I wish I could take away my own as well. So far no amount of prayer and positive thinking has eliminated every box.

So instead I am going to focus on seeing each remaining box as a gift, a gift I chose many years ago, because I knew, with God’s help, I could handle it, because I knew my soul would grow from it, because I knew that life was worth it.

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