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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
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It’s My Opinion: Challenges

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Life can be tough. Sometimes we can connect our problems to things we put in place. Sometimes hard times appear to fall inexplicably from the sky. Human nature shapes the desire to have power over our destinies. We want to feel we can avert tragedy by taking yearly medical screenings or crossing at the corner or investing wisely.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.


Is it fair that a non-smoker can contract lung cancer? Or that a “health nut” can suffer a heart attack? Or that a loving wife can have a husband who strays?  Who knows what is fair or who is good or bad? All we do know with certainty is that at times we are left holding the proverbial bag and somehow need to manage. 


There is only one enduring truth in this puzzle called life. We often have no control of the events that occur. The only thing we do have control over is the way we handle what comes before us.


The challenges we all face can be difficult. Who perseveres and who crumbles? Who survives and uses adversity as an opportunity to get a fresh new start? Who becomes bitter and broken? Who is up for the test and who will be crushed?


There are individuals who are paragons of tenacity and courage. They are often few and far between. Occasionally we get our example from other sources. Sometimes the lesson is made all the more poignant.


A movie is currently being filmed in Florida. The real-life “heroine” is playing herself. The film, “Dolphin Tale,” is based on a young dolphin named Winter, who had her tail chopped off in a crab trap almost five years ago. The dolphin was taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where she was given a prosthetic tail and underwent rehabilitation. Winter is now a beloved star attraction at the facility.


Although the storyline was pumped up bit for dramatic consideration, the basic premise is completely true. Winter is an inspiration. She just didn’t quit. She refused to give up on life. She has given motivation to many, especially the handicapped. Many of these people have given testimony on the aquarium’s website.

              Encouragement can come from some very unusual sources. It is up to us to learn the lesson.

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.

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