“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”

Thomas Paine, political activist and philosopher


Once upon a time a man walked into a restaurant and sat down. He said to the waitress, “Let me have a cup of coffee before the trouble starts.”

The waitress brought the man a cup of coffee.

“Will there be anything else?” the waitress asked.

“Yes,” said the man. “Please bring me a cheeseburger before the trouble starts.”

The waitress brought the man a cheeseburger and like before asked, “Will there be anything else?”

The man answered, “Yes, I’d like you to bring me a piece of pumpkin pie before the trouble starts.”

The waitress brought the man a piece of pumpkin pie. Once again she asked, “Will there be anything else?”

The man answered, “No.”

The waitress said to the man, “Do you mind if I ask you something?”

The man said, “No, go right ahead.”

The waitress said, “Every time you order something you say, ‘Before the trouble starts.’ Now what trouble are you talking about? What trouble is going to start?”

The man finished eating his cheeseburger and pie, then slurped down his coffee and wiped his chin.

“The trouble starts,” he said, “when you find out I don’t have any money to pay for this.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines trouble as “…a state or condition of distress, annoyance, or difficulty.”

Here are a few facts about trouble.

First, trouble is a part of life. As long as you are alive on this earth you are going to experience trouble.

Second, trouble does not play fair. It does not care how much money you have in the bank, who you know or where you work. When trouble decides to come looking for you, it will find you.

Third, what you think and do about your trouble will always be more important than the trouble itself.

Mark Twain said, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. It’s the healthiest thing a body can do.”

I heard a story about a snail who knocked on a man’s door. The man opened the door, saw the snail, picked it up and threw it across the yard. Two years later that same snail knocked on the door again.

When the man opened the door, the snail said, “Now what was that all about?”

When people hurt you or trouble kicks you in the pants, “What was that about?” may not be the right question.

Some other questions you may want to consider are:

“What can I learn from this?’

“What is funny about this?”

The Boy Scouts taught me to, “Be Prepared.”

So before the trouble starts, fill your heart and soul with plenty of faith, hope, and courage.

“In this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

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