Problems are Just Clouds

Dear Reader:

I loved yesterday morning…the cloud coverage was wonderful…keeping the direct sun off the plants and me…allowing me to work in the garden in total comfort! Wasn’t it a refreshing breeze blowing most of the day? A great day to be alive!

I discovered an interesting analogy on our problems as we go through life. They are like clouds. In her article, Made for Joy, Alice von Hildebrand, philosopher/theologian and widow of the famous anti-Nazi German philosopher- (Dietrich von Hildebrand) makes this observation.

…”Of course, in life there are moments of darkness. There are periods of discouragement. There are times when we lose sight of the beauty of the sky for all the clouds. You may have to bear severe sickness, or deal with tremendous pain, or you may be disappointed in this or that. But remember, whatever difficulty you have to face, it will not last. It is only a cloud. For God has made each of us with a purpose.”


This paragraph (that became Hildebrand’s personal philosophy) began when she was pushed off an American ship by a German submarine crewman at the end of WWII. Alice thought she was preparing to die when these “last” thoughts flooded her.

During the war I was on the last American ship to leave France, and we were arrested by a German submarine. We were given one hour to leave the ship. I was absolutely convinced I was going to die. Absolutely! And I had such an overwhelming experience. In a tenth of a hundredth of a second I saw my life in front of me in the greatest possible detail that you can imagine. It was unbelievable. What did I realize?

God has created each person for a purpose. He has his plan of love for you, for me, for everyone. The problem is that we make our own plans. We want them to be realized in a certain way and at a particular time. Then we get resentful when our plans don’t materialize. Yet, you have to come to a place in your life where you can say, “You, O Lord, you choose for me.

There is an enormous blessing in having faith, in trusting there is a God who has created you and loves you, in knowing that you have an immortal soul. Respect your soul. That is what matters. Whatever happens to you, say to yourself, “My God, it might not have been my choice, but it is your choice. And therefore I love it.” I believe that is the key to the meaning of life.”

In a perfect world  our souls and bodies ( made for joy) would all be filled with joy from the moment we rise until we recline. *But this isn’t a perfect world…so we have to make some adjustments in our expectations. Or as Alice says:

We are made for joy. But this joy can never be fully experienced here on earth. God’s joy is ultimately realized in eternity. To be a Christian is to understand that the cross, and the suffering of the cross, has meaning, and that suffering and woe are part of our state on this earth.

Don’t expect Paradise on earth. Don’t. But there is meaning, and this meaning is the love of God and gratitude for life on this earth. Whatever your state, whatever your situation, whatever your purpose, always remember that you are made for joy.”

So until tomorrow…

Joy and Woe Are Woven Fine

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine,
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so,
We were made for joy and woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.

~ by William Blake
 “Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh
 Woe and joy can be found in the garden too. I was out spraying those little tiny black grasshopper bugs that are eating my garden alive. I got a professional spray bottle and diluted some concentrated garden insect spray-let’em have it. No matter how much I spray those darn things want to just keep hatching and chomping away at their leisure. Look what is left of this daffodil….woe!
But there is joy too…thank goodness they don’t seem to like roses and the rose bush by the fence is testimony to joy and good health!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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