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Each one of us has a certain number of tests that we must pass over the course of our lifetime. This means that whenever we reach the point of accomplishing whatever we need to accomplish at a specific level, then we move on to the next level and the next test, each time gaining access to a higher level of our being, of who we are to become and of our soul.

The hard truth, though, is that the tests that we sometimes need to undergo can be very difficult. Sometimes they may even appear to us to be insurmountable and some may seem to be “curses.” What I believe with all that I am is that each one brings each of us to another level of consciousness and a step closer to becoming whom we are meant to be. Many times the end result looks nothing like you would have ever imagined.

For example, let us say that someone, for whatever reason, develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol. As a result, this person hits bottom one day and he or she has an epiphany one day and realizes they need help and they know that they cannot do it alone and they ask for help and do what they must do, finally, for themselves. Yes, it was a struggle and one that must be fought day by day.

During their time in recovery and as they sit alone away from the ones they love and that love them they finally have the time and the help to contemplate their ways; what they have or have not done, how they have or have not contributed to their world or a multitude of other thoughts. However, after all the pain and tears they make it.

Now let us look ahead a few years after they have been on track they find that they are worth more than they thought, they have gained determination and they have become more that they ever were or thought they could be. They have become more aware of themselves and in the process, of others around them. In the end, they have become one that others turn to for help because he or she has been there. They share their experiences with others, with family, friends and community.

Their life is now a light for others lost in the dark.

So in the end, was their illness a curse? The answer in this case is no. For this person, the illness was a knock on his door that said; “Wake up! You’ve lost a connection to your purpose for being here, and you need to reevaluate your way.”

Tonight I ask each of you to think of two events in your life that you felt were “curses.” Can you see now how the experience taught you something, changed you for the better, or made you stronger?

Remember that there is good in all things and that even the smallest flicker of a flame can light the way. Never give up and know that you are worth life and everything in it. You are here for others and you are here to be great.