He was referring to the onset of Parkinson's Disease, which occurred for him at the age of just 30.
His positive outlook, accepting what can't be changed in his life, and embracing the good things, have given him a new kind of freedom.
I just love this, the idea of preferring what IS in your life, so that you can go on and rejoice in the good stuff that will invariably come your way, sometimes because of those huge challenges.
You ask any married couple, 'when was the best time in your marriage?' Many of them will answer: "In the beginning. When we had little --a small apartment and big dreams, when we were struggling together and learning to lean on one another." In my own experience, the times of struggle -- not necessarily with each other, but with situations that we faced together -- have become the glue that made my marriage even stronger.
I don't share a ton about my personal life on my blog, because many of the stories aren't mine to tell. But, the past couple years have been hell on wheels, let me say that much. And there are many days when we're still rollin'!
I am forever striving to accept what is not mine to change, and stay in the moment. Because that's where I find peace. Looking behind, there is often regret. Looking ahead, I tend to worry, that things aren't moving in the right direction fast enough, or that they may never get better. It's my nature. I'm a worrier.
One of the things that has helped me keep things in perspective and given me loads of peace is a prayer poem that I came across a couple years ago. It has become a sort of personal Creed, and I recite it and pray it with as much conviction as possible, sometimes for myself and sometimes for people I love who are struggling so. Because sometimes it's just all you can do.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability ---
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually --- let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
--- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ