If put to the test of what I can't imagine living without, it would be courage, faith,and love. The first of the three, I believe I had when I took my first steps learning to walk. In those days every experience was a discovery and, having had few disappointments, I was eager to take on every new opportunity. It was only after discovering that sometimes things didn't turn out the way I expected that my courage to try sometimes faltered.
I remember as an eight-year-old being given a poem to recite from memory or a part in a school play and never giving it a second thought - I knew it! However, sitting at the piano on stage at my first piano recital at age nine performing "Santa Loves Little Children", I suddenly drew a blank and panicked! I really wanted to leave the stage in the middle of that piece! However, my piano teacher from the side gently and softly whispered, "Start over!"
When I did, I whizzed right past the trouble spot and finished the piece, I'm sure much to the relief of my parents. It was that confident encouragement from my teacher that strengthened by resolve enabling me to get through "it".
Over the years I have relived that experience many times. Those two words have served me well through many a tough moment. As I reflect over a lifetime there are numerous other people who have thrown me a life ring when I really needed it. My hope in turn is that I have been at the right place at the right time to encourage someone else when their courage needed a boost.
When I reflect on the stormy seasons of my life, and there have been a few, it was invariably faith that God can use all circumstances for good that pulled me through. One of my favorite verses from the New Testament is from Philippians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
For us who are city dwellers, life can become rather impersonal at times. It's the little things that sometimes mean the most.
I remember the time I was traveling alone, waiting to board a plane in Istanbul for the return to the US. It was the year 2000 and there was no repeats in English over the public address system. I assumed I was where I was supposed to be. However, unknown to me the boarding gate had been changed at the last minute and I was about to miss my flight. A couple of Americans about my age with a smile motioned for me to follow them. All three of us made it!