A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule braying, or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what happen, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up. Shake it off and step up. Shake it off and step up!" He repeated to encourage himself.
No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed, the mule fought panic and just kept right on Shaking It Off and Stepping Up! You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of the well.
What seemed like it would bury him actually blessed him, all because of the perspective from which he viewed his adversity. That's life. If we face our problems, recognize that they can have a positive benefit, and refuse to give into panic, bitterness, or self-pity, the adversities that come along that threaten to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us!
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