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Defined by Hardship?

Defined by Hardship?

Hello and good day!

I came across a great book in Target the other day. I really lucked into it.

Sometimes when I have time to kill after working in the chocolate shop, I take my kids over to Target and let them look around. This usually happens on a Wednesday night, as my wonderful wife works and closes the shop on Wednesdays.My three sons and I kill time until she gets off, and then we all go home together, usually around 8 at night.

Target is in the same center as our shop, right around the corner. The kids like to look at toys. I like to look at books.

It works out well, and we are in the vicinity to go meet my wife once she calls and lets us know she is ready. Over in the book section, I read the first few pages of many books, trying to find one that grabs me. Most don't. I don't know why, but it is hard to find a book that really grabs you.

Anyhow, this one book grabbed me, and I want to share it with you in case you are looking for a good book to read. It is called Between Two Kingdoms, A Memoir Of A Life Interrupted.The author is Suleika Jaouad.

The crux of it is that Suleika was diagnosed with leukemia when she was in her early twenties, right after graduating from college, before she even had a chance to start living a real adult life. She has just fallen in love with a guy and started working her first real job.And then she starts to get sick.

It took a while for doctors to find out what she was ailing from. But eventually, they figure it out and she has to undergo treatment and needs a bone marrow transplant. Her odds of making it out alive were only about 30%.

She tells her story with extreme, harrowing honesty.

I have a friend who survived leukemia, and now I know what she went through. I'm not going to tell you much more, because I don't want to spoil it for you in case you are going to read it yourself. There is one passage in there though that I wanted to share with you, not word for word, but in a summarized fashion.

She points out that had she not become sick, she would have been just another 20 something, out in the world working, not thinking much about her mortality, not living life to the fullest, not writing bestselling books, and not giving support and hope to other cancer patients.

All that being said, she would rather not have suffered the way she did.If she could do it all over again, she wouldn't. It was too terrible an experience for anybody to choose to go through.

However, in the end, it was that terrible experience that defined her and gave her life meaning. This is fascinating.


n my daily writing, I've made a lot of hay about how much my brother sacrificed to get our chocolate company up and running. He traveled twice a month for ten years on a 13-hour bus ride in each direction, to go out and build and run our cacao buying and processing facility out in the northern Peruvian jungle.

When the project got started, his first child, a daughter, had just been born.For the first ten years of his daughter's life, Brian was in the jungle two weeks out of four, five years out of ten. He missed half his daughter's life getting our business up and running. He didn't do it unconsciously. It broke his heart while it was happening, but he felt there wasn't any other choice.

I tell a lot of stories about the cacao farmers with whom we work. I talk a lot about how difficult life can be out where they live.Especially now with the heavy rains they've been living through.

But they keep going. They keep harvesting cacao and miraculously, our team keeps trudging out to their farms. If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't be able to make delicious chocolate.

I also make a lot of hay from the fact that we started our chocolate business with my dad's life savings when he was in his late sixties. My dad is a real survivor.

He lost his own father when he was just 4 years old. He has made and lost millions in business several times. His entire life he has been trying to build a business that could endure so that he could leave it to his kids.

Finally, on his last try, we've built something great here with Fortunato Chocolate, and it will be my life's work to make sure it stays around forever.

Do you see how one's identity appears to emerge from going through hard times? Not too long ago, I wrote my opinion that human beings appear to derive meaning from three main things. I ascertained this by thinking about the main plot lines you find in most movies and books.

Why would these stories keep popping up over and over again unless they were primordial human concerns?

First, there are love stories. Most of us want to fall in love or love and be loved.

Second, the battle of good versus evil. Most of us like the idea of being involved in a struggle on the side of good to overcome evil.

Third, overcoming some hard challenge and living to talk about it.

It seems like these three things are what power the human spirit.

If you are going through something very hard, keep in mind that somewhere down the line, it is probably the hardship that will give your life meaning. Or, if you are in a rut and looking for something to get excited about, it can probably be found in one of the three things listed above.

Chocolate is a good accompaniment to pondering these issues by the way. I know because I've been eating a chunk of our 68% dark chocolate the entire time I've been writing this.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!