The Virtue of Problem Solving

by: Rev. Christopher P. Foustoukos Proistamenos

There is a story about an old farmer whose mule fell into a well. After many unsuc- cessful attempts to haul the mule out of the well, the farmer decided it was hopeless. So, with a great deal of sadness he instructed his

boys to fill up several truck loads of dirt and just bury the old mule there in the well. Well, the boys backed up the truck filled with dirt, shoveled in the dirt, and began to fill the well to bury the mule. The mule didn’t appreciate it, though. The first shovel of dirt hit him squarely on the head, got in his eyes and mouth, and made him sneeze. Every shovelful after that hit him some- wherecausingtheoldmuletostomparoundinthebottomofthe well. Several truck loads of dirt later the mule was still stomping and packing the dirt firmly under his feet. Little by little that mule was lifting himself out of that well. Sure enough, about mid afternoon that mule simply stepped out of the well and snorted at the whole business.

Have you ever noticed that this is the way some people deal with their problems? Some complain; some do not handle setbacks well; some are defeated with the slightest difficulty. There are others who like the mule, when problems hit them squarely on the head, stomp around enough until finally they use the problem to rise above it. Much as Saint Paul who tells the Romans (8:28) We know that in everything God works for the good with those who love him.” Finally Saint Paul tells the Philippians (4:11-13), Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

During this wonderful month of October, let us strive to acquire this virtue of problem solving. To use our gifts and tal- entstoovercometheroadblocksanddifficultiesthatlifecastsin our path. Let us become like the mule and rise above those atti- tudes, mindsets, persons or circumstances that seek to engulf us!

+ Fr. Chris


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