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Illustration: Struggle

In a recent issue of his One Minute Uplift newsletter, Rick Ezell writes: "The pages of history are lined with individuals encountering negative setbacks only to make something positive out of them. They are better for it. In many cases so are we.

"Thomas Edison, when a boy, received a blow on his ear which impaired his hearing. What a tragedy! Later he felt his deafness was a blessing, for it was a tool by which he was saved from distractions. This allowed him to concentrate on his work, and out of that concentration emerged some of the greatest inventions of all times.

"Victor Hugo, a literary genius of France, was exiled from his country by Napoleon. What a tragedy! Out of that period of exile arose some of his most creative works. When he later returned home in triumph, he asked, 'Why was I not exiled earlier?'

"Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, faced obstacle after obstacle in her life. However, on more that one occasion she confided, 'I thank God for my obstacles, for through them I have found myself, my work and my God.'

"George Frederick Handel was at a low point in his life. His money was gone, and his creditors hounded him, threatening him with imprisonment. His right side became paralyzed, and his health deteriorated. For a brief time he was tempted to give up. In the midst of the darkness he picked himself up and began to do the only thing he knew to do--write music. Out of that despair he wrote the oratorio known as The Messiah, which many consider the greatest piece of church music in history.

"The fiber tying Edison, Hugo, Keller and Handel together is that these people refused to be defeated by their problems. They saw their misfortunes and bad luck not as dilemmas to destroy them, but as opportunities to grow and develop in ways that otherwise would have been impossible."