by Dick Innes
Walter Elias froze with fascination.
A sensitive child, Walter had grown up in the city until when he was five years, his family moved to a farm. One day, two year later, after was walking through an apple orchard when he discovered, to his amazement, an owl perched on a low branch.
Remembering that his father had told him that owls hunted at night but slept during the day, Walter crept quietly towards the sleeping bird.
"What a wonderful pet this funny creature would make", he thought to himself. So, sneaking right up behind it, he stealthily reached up and seized it by the legs.
Whew! What a shock both were in for. Terrified, the owl went berserk. Flapping wings frantically, screeching loudly, and struggling furiously, it did everything in its power to escape.
Equally terrified, Walter panicked. He clung to the bird for dear life. In utter terror, he eventually threw it to the ground and stamped it to death. When the struggle ended and the pounding of his heart subsided somewhat, Walter looked down at the broken and bloodied bird...and cried.
Feeling terrible, he ran from the orchard, but later returned to bury the owl. for months he dreamed of this bird he had wanted for a pet but in terror had killed.
Too ashamed to tell anyone, he kept his secret to himself. Only years later did he share it.
Perhaps it was this grief more than anything else that helped make Walter the person he became. Never could he bring that owl back to life, but he made all the animals of the forest come alive through his drawings and the wonderful entertainment center named after himself.
His full name? Walter Elias Disney.
Have you ever failed or felt as if you had? Ever done something that you later felt terrible about? Or experienced a business or personal setback that gave your self-concept a beating? Or gone through a relationship breakdown that left you feeling less than whole? Or perhaps experience some physical hardship, handicap, sickness or mental breakdown that devastated you?
If so, welcome to the human race. When we fail or feel as though we have failed, we tend to think we are the odd person out. It isn't so. Every one of us has failed at something. We have all done things we are sorry for. We have all faced setbacks at some time or another and felt as if we were going under. I certainly have.
It can be very easy to be an armchair theorist and give out simplistic solutions to life's everyday struggles if you've never failed, suffered, or been heartbroken, lonely, sick, or overwhelmed with discouragement.
Accept yourself as human.Realize that it's all right to fail.
But for what it might be worth, if you are in need of encouragement today, I want you to know that I have in part at least, sat where you sit.
My home began to fall apart when I was a young teenager. Eventually my parents divorced. In those day divorce simply was not accepted as readily as it is today and I felt terribly ashamed. I felt very much rejected by my father and ended up rejecting him, which left me feeling very insecure.
And when it comes to doing wrong, I've committed enough sins to know that I am less than perfect. I've know what it is to struggle in business and verge of going under. And I've known years of family sickness and disaster too.
I can't say that I like trouble. Neither am I a good sufferer. But this one thing I know: you and I can rise above our failures, misfortunes or circumstances.
Walt Disney turned his childhood nightmare into a beautiful dream, which in turn became a reality. You and I can do the same too, if we want to badly enough and will persevere.
The only real failure is not to get up one more time than you've been knocked down.
Not that it comes easily. It rarely does. It didn't for Walt Disney either. Apparently he went broke seven times and had a nervous breakdown before he realized his dreams and became successful.
Here's how you too can be successful: First, accept yourself as human. Realize that it's all right to fall or to fail. It's all part of the human experience. You don't have to be perfect to be a worthwhile person. You just need to be you.
Second, when you fall don't stay down. Recognize that the only real failure is not to get up one more time than you've been knocked down. So get up, determined with God's help that you too are going to make something worthwhile of your life, that you are going to contribute something of value to mankind.
Third, learn through your trials and failures. Turn them into learning experiences that you can use as stepping stones on your pathway to fulfillment and success.
Fourth, learn to trust in God. Accept your disappointments as his appointments, knowing that he is seeking to use these to draw you closer to himself and to enrich and mature your life. And even if you don't feel like it, thank God for the lessons he is wanting to teach you through your painful situations.
Fifth, don't quit. The story is told about one concert the famed pianist, Paderewski, held. An air of expectancy filled the crowded hall as the audience anxiously awaited the entrance of the great musician.
A nine-year -old boy, impatient with waiting and fascinated by the magnificent Steinway grand piano on center stage, slipped away unnoticed from his parents and made his way to the platform. After observing the beautiful instrument in great detail, and totally oblivious to the packed house, the boy sat down on the piano bench and began to play his rendition of his most polished piece of music--"Chopsticks!"
There was a deadly silence as the audience gasped in amazement. Some began to snicker. Another called out in anger, "Whose kid is that?" followed by the not too kind directive, "Somebody get him out of here!"
Backstage, Paderewski looked up to see what all the commotion was about. Quickly summing up the situation, he quietly slipped alongside the boy and began to play a beautiful counter-harmony around the child's "Chopsticks" melody.
"Keep playing," Paderewski whispered to the boy. "Don't stop, Play on. You're doing magnificently. Just don't quit!'
And that's exactly what Jesus Christ, the son of God, does for each one of us when we surrender our hearts and lives to him. He sits down beside us, no matter what our situation, and whisper, "Don't stop. Keep playing, Don't give up. I'm here beside you to help you, to encourage you, to enrich your life. Just don't quit. Trust me and I will make something beautiful out of your life".