學習享受你的極限

By:Robert D. Foster

在所有我們所懼怕的事物中,「歲月催人老」大概是最令人恐懼的了!幾個月前我才剛過91歲生日呢! 別人大概覺得我年紀大,但是我卻只認為它是我人生旅程中的一個階段罷了。

思考一下:籃球賽的第四場大概是最令人感到興奮的了!人生又何嘗不是呢?

人們總是說人生有三個階段:青年、中年、和「哇!你看起來真不像你的年紀!」的老年。但是大部分的人都無法有意義地活在第三個階段。例如說我的朋友,在五十歲的時候就認為他的生命已經到達了終點,其實以今天的標準來看,他還相當年輕。

另一個朋友在六十五歲的時候,不再過他過去六十年辛苦建立的直得稱頌的生活和保持他的名聲。他原本是處於那樣當受尊敬和優雅的年紀,像「白髮吟」這首歌一樣,但他卻中途放棄,因為他認為自己太老太累了!

年紀大不應當被視為一種殘障或是個人的損失。「人生七十心年輕,強過四十心衰老」美國著名的法學家Junior Oliver Wendell Holmes這麼說。

你可以看年紀大是一種「能力的失去」或是一個「機會」。下面這些人就超過了年齡的限制,拒絕倚靠在拐杖上完成了偉大的事蹟:
羅伯路易斯史蒂文森(金銀島的作者)雖然一生病弱,為了治療結核病到處旅行,但他的人生仍中充滿冒險,寫下多部許多流傳後世的文學作品。 詩人Lord Byron有畸形的內翻足。 凱撒大帝有癲癇。 貝多芬晚年耳聾。 拿破崙身材短小。 莫札特患有結核病。 美國總統羅斯福患有小兒麻痺。 海倫凱勒自小就又聾又啞。在新約裡面,使徒保羅在哥林多後書12章7-9節表達他對軟弱和限制的看法:「我的恩典夠你用的,因為我的能力是在人的軟弱上顯得完全。所以,我更喜歡誇自己的軟弱,好叫基督的能力覆庇我。我為基督的緣故,就以軟弱、凌辱、急難、逼迫、困苦為可喜樂的;因我甚麼時候軟弱,甚麼時候就剛強了。

我們也需要用這樣的態度來生活:那就是不拿自己的限制當作失敗的藉口。

摘錄自「挑戰」,由Robert D. and Rick Foster撰寫和出版。在合理的範圍內許可免費刊登。若有任何問題和評論請寫信到29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A., or fax (303) 647-2315.Foster先生最近才剛過91歲生日,但他仍持守把握每一個今天的原則。

思想 / 討論題目

在你的人生中最大的恐懼是甚麼?是逐漸變老嗎?或是其他的?說說你的看法。 年紀只是過有意義人生的其中一個因素而已嗎?你是否還有其他的限制呢? 你能想出其他令你尊敬也是超越限制的人嗎?你認為是甚麼讓這些人超越軟弱和障礙而成功呢? 在聖經使徒保羅認為軟弱是一種禮物,因為它能彰顯基督的能力。你相信嗎?說說你的看法。我更喜歡誇自己的軟弱,好叫基督的能力覆庇我。(林後12:9) 註:如果你手上有聖經,想要查考關於這個主題相關的經節,請參考:以賽亞書35章3-4節; 40章31節;羅馬書5章3-5節;哥林多前書1章26-29節;雅各書1章2-8節

LEARNING TO REVEL IN YOUR LIMITATIONS

By Robert D. Foster

Of all the phobias we face – fears that leave us trembling – for many of us none is greater than the fear of growing old. Several months ago I reached the age of 91! While some people might consider that “old,” I regard it only as the latest stage in the great adventure that has been my life.

Think about it: The fourth quarter of a basketball game is the most exciting; why should that not be true in life as well?

I have been told there are three phases in life – youth, middle age, and "My, you’re looking great!" But many people fail to get to that third phase, at least not in a meaningful, productive manner. One of my friends, for example, saw his life come to an end on his 50th birthday. By today”s standards, he was comparatively young.

Another friend checked out of productive living at 65, turning his back on the commendable life and reputation he had built over more than six decades. He was at the height of "Silver Threads Among The Gold" (a song recorded numerous times during the 20th century about the joy of aging gracefully and proudly). In spite of the legacy he was still in the midst of building, he quit! Too old, too tired, he said.

Becoming older need not be viewed as a handicap, a personal liability. "To be 70 years young," wrote the esteemed jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, "is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old."

Of course, aging is just one of countless circumstances that can be perceived as either disability or opportunity. Here are examples of people who overcame limitations to accomplish great things in their lives, individuals that refused to lean on the crutch of their so-called “handicap”:
Author Robert Louis Stevenson was an invalid most of his life. Poet Lord Byron had a clubfoot. Roman statesman Julius Caesar suffered from epilepsy. Composer Ludwig von Beethoven was deaf. French political and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte was extremely short in stature. Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart suffered from consumption, now known as tuberculosis. American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a victim of polio. Author, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller was blind and deaf from childhood.In the Bible”s New Testament, the Apostle Paul summed up in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 his view of the right attitude toward weakness and limitations: "I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Three times I asked God to remove it and HE told me: ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need, MY strength comes into its very own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad he let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer."

We would all be wise to live by that attitude: Never use your limitations as an excuse for failure.

Taken and adapted from Take Two on Monday Morning, written by Robert D. Foster. Permission to reproduce with proper credit is freely given and encouraged. For questions or comments, write: 29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A., or fax (303) 647-2315. Mr. Foster recently celebrated his 91st birthday. True to his exhortation, he continues to “seize the day” on a daily basis.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What is your greatest fear in life? Is it, as Mr. Foster writes, of growing old? Or are you sometimes troubled by some other fear or “phobia” that affects your daily life? Explain your answer. Aging is just one of many possible limiting factors in seeking to live successfully and productively? What other limitations have you – or someone you know well – had to deal with? Think of someone you admire that has been able to overcome considerable limitations. What do you think has enabled that individual to succeed, perhaps even excel, despite disability or weakness? In the Bible passage cited, the apostle Paul writes about “the gift of a handicap.” The explanation that Paul believed he received was that God”s strength is made evident (another translation says “perfected”) in our weakness. Do you believe this? Why or why not? If you would like to consider other Bible passages that relate to this topic, look up the following:
Isaiah 35:3-4; 40:31; Romans 5:3-5; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; 2 Corinthians 13:3-4; James 1:2-8

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