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Temporary Moments of Discomfort

2018-05-04T17:12:56+00:00

Crack! The massive cracking sound slammed the all-metal water tower on the country road in front of our property, and it reverberated like a giant speaker. Sheets of rain are pouring down, an Armageddon of water from our roof. Zero visibility has eliminated my view. Silence does not exist as the wind howls and pellets of rain slam the metal roof. Suddenly I’m startled by an annoying emergency flooding alert on my phone. Yet the family sleeps, unaware of the chaos.

Loving Storms

I’m not sure why I love storms so much. I don’t recall ever being afraid of the thundering noises. When I was a child l, we would open the garage door for storm-gazing. We would cheer at thunder and lightning, which we referred to as “God bowling.”

Chickens and Mountain Lions

In that garage we raised chickens and a baby mountain lion cub (“Blinky”) and a couple of dogs. It was home to my blue Stingray bike with the giant handlebars, and later my gold Schwinn with a fake “varoom” motor on it. I was such a nerd.

It’s amazing to me how the thought of a storm triggers so many memories of that garage.

Quick or Sustained?

I’m not sure, but I think I’d rather live in a place where we get all our water in huge, gushing storms rather than a steady stream of rain over long periods of time. That’s also the way I prefer life’s storms. I’d rather get them over with and deal with them, no matter how severe, than have my life be one ongoing problem after another.

Some acquaintances live in perpetual storms. It seems like life never cuts them a break, and they suffer through endless problems. Sometimes those storms are real problems — but other times they are attitudes looking for problems. There are people who find problems in everything.

I Thought Problems Followed Me

I have memories of moments when I was like Pig Pen, the character in the Charlie Brown comics with a cloud of dirt floating all around him. When problems would hit, it was as though they never ended. I would wallow in them. I would talk about them all the time. I wanted others to feel sorry for me.

Then one day I discovered the way I perceived problems was the reason my problems stuck with me. A wise mentor told me to embrace problems.

I thought he was nuts, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the biggest growth comes from pain. The brightest sun comes after the dark clouds of a storm.

Blue Steel

Though none of us like pain and we don’t look forward to problems, these problems are what form us. My dad likes to say that it’s the hottest, bluest flames that harden steel.

I’d be lying if I told you I look forward to problems, but by changing the way I look at them, by knowing that they will provide growth and something better, I have become much happier.

A Giant Storm

This past week I was faced with a giant, tornado-like storm in my life. Though I was bothered and somewhat stressed, I faced it with strength, with calm, and without raging emotions. That allowed me to see the upside of a bad situation, and to help others who were experiencing severe emotions see that there might be a silver lining in this dark cloud. In fact, the outcome was better than anything we could have imagined. Even though the start of the week seemed like the end of the world.

What about you?

How do you look at life’s challenges and problems?

Do you face your problems with grace, and with a sense that no matter how dark it is, you’ll be better off on the other side?

Facing Blindness

Thirty years ago I spent a weekend lying in bed, crying in fear and shaking endlessly because a doctor had told me I was going to lose vision in both of my eyes and be blind for the rest of my life. I allowed my fears to control me.

Two years ago it happened again — I went about 80 percent blind in one eye. I called the doctor and went in for an emergency procedure. I was calm, I was joking with the doctor, and though I feared the worst, that fear did not control me this time.

The only difference was how I looked at the problem.

Walking in Your Shoes

I’ve not walked in your shoes, I don’t know the severity of your problems, I don’t know the issues you face with your loved ones. I cannot begin to imagine your pain. But I can tell you that flipping this switch in my head made me stop living with fear and drama.

Maybe it will work for you?

The Other Side of Problems

There are now over 100,000 of you reading this on Sunday mornings, and my guess is that some of you have lived a lot of life and dealt with a lot of problems, including some that truly were the end of your world. My guess is that in most cases there was something that happened on the other side of the problem, that made things better —maybe not in every case, but in many cases?

Think about those times when your world was ending and the outcome was for the better.

If you’ll consider looking at problems as temporary moments of discomfort that lead you to better things or to important lessons, it can change everything.

The longer I’m alive, the more I understand how much we can control our brains to enrich our lives and not react negatively to every challenge we face. I guess I feel like God’s got my back no matter what.

I hope you’ll try it this week. Instead of a negative reaction to a problem, look at it as something you simply have to deal with that will provide something better on the other side. Approaching things this way may enrich your life.

Eric Rhoads

PS: I’m truly humbled by the release of my new book. This week, in the middle of my storm, the sweet news was that it became a #1 Amazon Bestseller in two different categories. Then we sold out of books, and we’ve sent the remainder of the print run, and all indications are that those will be gone soon. We’re already into the second printing after releasing it on May 1. And tonight I’ll be talking about the book and marketing and how people can create art and live their dreams on The Walter Sterling Show at Westwood One, a national radio show that airs on 50 of the biggest radio stations in America. The best news of all, though, is how many people are finding it helpful, including people who are not just in art, photography, or crafts, but people who run small and large businesses. Dan Kennedy, one of the top marketing minds in the world, sent me a FedEx to tell me the book was “solid,” which I consider a compliment. So forgive the bragging — I’m pretty excited.

21 Comments

  1. Linda Klenczar May 6, 2018 at 4:40 am - Reply

    I encouraged my sister to sign up for Sunday Coffee, and she did some time ago. I have sent it to others as well.
    When I cared for our mother from 2011 to 2016 so she could stay in her home for as long as possible, until I could not care for her alone, it was a terrible time to watch my beloved mother crumble under the effects of Parkinsons. Before that, I had some pretty good rages in life. Upsets with deadlines missed by contractors or other things in my work. after the life and death effects of disease, I don’t have those rages anymore. The greatest tests in life do give way to a better life. always so good to read your Sunday Coffee and reflect. Painting has always given a calm. And now even more than before. I miss my mother, but those years of talking and talking and learning her wisdom….without measure.

  2. Sandy Greer May 6, 2018 at 5:34 am - Reply

    Hi Eric. I just want to tell you that following a life-changing event many years ago, this is how I’ve lived my life, and so far, it has definitely worked for me. I look forward to your Sunday Coffee emails each week and almost always learn something good from them.

  3. Regann Hunt-Royster May 6, 2018 at 5:34 am - Reply

    Well, since 100,000 of us are indeed reading this, I just had to give you some feedback. This was so timely and I believe God inspired. I’m a decorative artist, self employed, painting murals and exquisite wall finishes in residential and commercial locations. I fell backward off ladder and had severe break in left wrist. As I was falling I knew it was going to be bad. I cried out “Help me Jesus”. I was all alone and only angels were present. I fell in concrete steps on my back and hip and slammed my left wrist backward over a step and broke it. I knew I was in a storm at this moment. Being right handed, I immediately thanked God for the help of not being killed. I was able to move to my phone after a while to call for help. Here I am 7 weeks after fall. No problems in my back or hip. However, my wrist is a mess. I’m taking your message and applying it like salve to my hurt. As a believer in Jesus, I have experienced His love and communication to my heart through his Word and others who know Him. This experience has revealed much in my own heart. I am in the moment now. Each day I’m improving, painfully yes, but with deeper compassion for others and a humility in my own being. Thank you for these words of encouragement to me. Regann

  4. Peach McComb May 6, 2018 at 5:38 am - Reply

    It is amazing how changing one’s perspective, both in art and in life, makes problems just a little easier to handle. Excelent article~

  5. Shirley DeLaet May 6, 2018 at 6:29 am - Reply

    I enjoyed your article this Sunday morning. I agree with you when you say “The longer I’m alive, the more I understand…”. That’s the beauty of aging. I, too, feel that I am understanding more as I age.

    What I don’t understand is…
    Why is it called bragging when we talk about one of our accomplishments, but when we talk about someone else’s accomplishments it is called a compliment? Whenever I do something that I think I excelled in, I hesitate to mention it because it would mean I was bragging. Sometimes, I struggle with how to say it.

    I hope I live long enough to understand that one!

    Congratulations on your book! I am thrilled for your success. And, please don’t apologize for “bragging”. At my age, I am just beginning to understand that it isn’t bragging when it is factual and eloquently stated…just as you have done in this newsletter.

    Ah, maybe I will live long enough to understand it after all!

    I am glad there will be a second printing. I want to get a copy, but I didn’t expect it to sell out so quickly. Do you have a release date for the second printing?

  6. Marla May 6, 2018 at 7:10 am - Reply

    When life throws you curve balls, stumbling blocks and even solid brick walls at the end of one-way alleys, I deal with it by having a “Plan B”, imagining how it could be worse, and realizing I only have control of my reactions. I try to remain loving above all. I don’t always succeed, but mindset and mind-fullness go a long way in positively surviving precipices and Mariana Trenches in my life.

  7. Suzanne Roberts May 6, 2018 at 7:55 am - Reply

    With a cup of joe in hand reading you email ”Coffee with Eric” I’ve had this lightbulb moment. Somehow you were suppose to be a factor in my life with your message of dealing with problems. With opening Local Color Gallery this week in Belfast, Maine with all the problems it encompasses and discovering a health problem you message has brought me comfort and a way to deal with it all. I thank you with all my heart. Looking forward to reading your book.

  8. Phillip E. Myers May 6, 2018 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Thank you for today’s coffee talk. Very helpful to me and I’m sure many others. I will buy your bood and enjoy it, I’m sure but I have little interest in marketing my paintings. I am a 80 year old hobby artist who enjoys art for art. I volunteer at The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia and each time I take a small group on a “highlights tour” I live to see the new things I haven;t noticed before and the walk over 120,000 square feet of beauty and realism makes me forget my storms in my knees and back. I love to show people beauty and teach them about the artists. You help me in other ways too. Your publications inspire me to think I can do that too!. Thank you Eric.

  9. Schlesier Grace May 6, 2018 at 8:59 am - Reply

    A HUGE CONGRATS ON YOUR BOOK so happy for you and so deserved. You do so much for us all. Each Sunday Coffee is a special read for Bob and I. We send our 💕 and blessings.

  10. Claudia Hartley May 6, 2018 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Such wise words as I am going through recovering from a back injury. I am missing being outdoors hiking and plein air painting. And yes, I too have learned my best lessons in the trials. After many years of listening to God and learning HIS ways , I am trusting Him more and more! Something good always comes from every trial and I have had many.

  11. Frances Pampeyan May 6, 2018 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Hi Eric. Big congrats on your book. And once again, thanks for your Sunday morning letter. The past 2 weeks my vision has been impaired, due to a detached retina and surgery to repair it. The Lord gave me peace throughout this experience, and I’ve had some sweet times with friends who have been driving me everywhere, and doing such kind things for me. Wow, I am very blessed. God bless you and your family.

  12. Kyna May 6, 2018 at 10:55 am - Reply

    I have had eye problem and it was very scary . I hope everything is going to be OK

  13. Dorothy Q May 6, 2018 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Adversity builds character if my motto and it has worked for me all my life.

  14. Margo Geyer May 6, 2018 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for your inspiring message today. I realized I had learned a lot from my Mother-in Law, who was a Christian Science believer. Attitude is everything (she lived to 96). Delighted to know that message can be said in many ways and many places.

    Congratulations on the book, it is really a great one. I am on the second reading with a high-liter this time.

  15. Barbara Yongue May 6, 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    I so enjoy your articles
    They are uplifting and I share many of them with others
    Because I was able to attend one of the Adirondack Plein air weeks a few years ago I have made ongoing friendships with many of those that I consider to be among the best artists in the country
    Thank you for all you do

  16. Jeancarlo Montjoy May 6, 2018 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    I FELT IN TOUCH WITH THIS WEEKEND’S READ THANK YOU ERIC RHOADS I TRULY FELT THIS WEEK I FELT THAT YOU WERE TALK TOO ME…
    THANK YOU ERIC ANGAIN

  17. Alisa May 7, 2018 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Thank you for your words of encouragement. Your posts are always uplifting and give help and insight to our problems! Thanks again….looking forward to your next posts. Have a great week!

  18. William Schneider May 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Eric,
    Congrats on the new book! I can’t wait to read it…Over the years I have become convinced that all things work toward good if we just keep putting one foot in front of another.
    Bill

  19. James Payne May 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    THANKS so much for another good lesson on problems, I hope your eye problems go away.

  20. Lois Primeau May 10, 2018 at 5:34 am - Reply

    Years ago, I was going through a very tough time, dealing with an aging mother, on my own, without any help from my three brothers. At that point, it had been twenty years, plus…. I remember there was a marquee in front of a church I would pass nearly every day. It said, “If God brings you to it, God will bring you through it.” It became my mantra and saved my sanity. I eventually did receive help from one of my brothers and he has been, literally, a godsend.

    Thank you for your wise words. And congratulations on the success of your book!

  21. Frances E Pampeyan May 13, 2018 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Well, now I can relate to your experience of losing eyesight. I am back to normal now, thank the Lord, after having surgery for a detached retina. I sure appreciate my eyesight more than I ever have, and am so grateful to have both eyes again.
    Thanks for sharing your story and your fears, and your trust in God.

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