This message is as much for me as it is for any who might read this.
A few years ago on one of my first sales trips to the Texas panhandle I visited an advertising agency that prided itself on being the 'oldest ad agency west of the Mississippi River'. Their office looked as though it was stuck in the 70's with the earth-tone decor, the smell of old books, and outdated office furniture. As I stood in the waiting area I saw a door full of interesting quotes and thoughts. The one that stood out to me the most was one that said the following: 'Smile, it gets worse.'
I laughed silently to myself and thought about something my mom had taught me as a kid. She explained to me that the reason we experience tough times is to prepare us for the tougher ones to come. There is definitely some truth to that.
Fast forward to the present day (well a couple of days ago), I found myself sitting across the table from a friend sharing the fortunes from the cookies we had just eaten. As 'luck' would have it, my fortune said something with a completely different tone...it said, 'Don't Give Up! The Best Is Yet To Come.'
It was a timely message and one I felt compelled to share. As a missionary I would often receive little stories enclosed in each of the letters that my grandfather would send. One such story illustrates the idea of the fortune cookie well. The story is told of an elderly woman who had reached the end of her life. She called the pastor of her church to her home so that she could get all of her affairs in order. Upon leaving, the pastor turns to the elderly woman and asks if there is anything else that he can do for her. She responds by telling him that there is one more small thing she would like him to do...make sure that she is be buried with a fork in her right hand.
Obviously puzzled, the pastor asks her to explain her unique request. She proceeds to tell him that her favorite part of church gatherings was when someone would tell those in attendance to, 'keep their forks' after they had finished eating dinner. Those words meant that dessert was to follow shortly.
Nodding his head, the pastor agreed to do as she requested because he understood perfectly what she was trying to say. She had lived a full life, eaten all of her dinner so to speak, and now she would hold her fork in anticipation of partaking of the dessert that awaited her.
Our lives are much the same way. We must eat all of our vegetables if we hope to have a bowl of ice cream afterward. Through the trials and tribulations that we face we become better and stronger. If we endure those difficult times that come to each of us and see them through to the end not only will we come to understand their purpose in our lives, we will also prepare ourselves for better days ahead.
I know that sometimes it is easy to get discouraged, to lose faith, or to give up hope in the face of adversity. But, remember the words of the fortune cookie, 'Don't give up. The best is yet to come!'