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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: Things That Make You Go...Ow!!
By Eileen Knowles


“Those things that hurt, instruct.” Benjamin Franklin

What a true statement. Hurts have the potential to challenge us and to grow us and to make us wiser. Regardless of whether we are aware of this or not, hurts can always teach us something. The question then becomes, what lesson can I learn from this painful experience? Take for example what happened just now, prior to writing this next thought. I was at my computer pondering how to phrase what I was going to type next and started munching rapidly on one of the pieces of ice from my empty soda cup. Unfortunately, during one of my more aggressive chomps, I missed the piece of ice completely and chomped down on the inside of my bottom lip instead...Ow!! I learned that sometimes when I chew too quickly- when my jaws begin moving at the speed of a semi-automatic weapon- then my chewing accuracy is slightly affected and my teeth miss their intended target. The lesson I learned from this Ow moment? Reckless, sloppy, chomping is potentially hazardous to the inside of my mouth.

Some ow moments can be avoided.

I was thinking back over the ow moments in my life and I think Ben Franklin hit the nail on the head (Ow pun intended). Every painful experience in my life has taught me something. One of my earliest ow recollections occurred when I was just five years old. It was the time when I slammed one of my fingers in a sliding glass door and lost a fingernail in the process. Ow! I learned two very important lessons that days...accidents inevitably happen and, most importantly, not only is there a Tooth Fairy but there is also a Fingernail Fairy!

Some ow moments turn out to be blessings in disguise.

I have had my share of these types of physical ow moments, stubbed toes, scraped knees, paper cuts and oven burns just to name a few. But, I can also recall some ow moments that have cut much deeper than the pain of a lost nail or a bit lip. I am sure everyone is familiar with the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Really? I think some of my most painful ow moments have been in the form of words. One comment, in particular, from early in my adult life has stuck with me for nearly 20 years.

It was actually words written to me by a college English professor. After writing an entire page full of red ink criticizing absolutely every part of my paper, I will never forget the last sentence he wrote to me... “Consider this grade a gift...D​+” Ow!

Those words were so hurtful and, at the time, they certainly seemed to cut like a knife. I remember being so upset that I went back to my college apartment and cried about the words written on that page. I think I was upset not so much with the grade, but with the fact that he was right. I hadn't put much effort into the paper and I was embarrassed and angry with myself. I learned something about myself from that experience because I basically had a choice to make for the next assignment. I could either continue turning in work that lacked effort or I could turn in my best effort. The next paper I wrote for the class... A-.

Some ow moments can challenge us to discover our true potential.

Then there are the ow moments in my life that seem to require years of analysis in order to understand the lesson tucked away in the hurt. And sometimes, even after years of analysis, I still feel as if I have only learned half of what I am supposed to learn from the experience. But, I don't think I would want it any other way. Learning is way too much fun. And who knows...someday I just might come across the Toenail Fairy in the whole painful process!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Karlene Jacobsen01/17/10
Those "OW" moments definitely can be ones we are most grateful for later on. Your sense of humor showed through in this piece, making it an enjoyable read. Good work.
Lollie Hofer01/18/10
Great devotional. Enjoyed the stories about your life as well.
Helen Dowd01/21/10
Oh yes! I could relate to the "finger" ow. When I was 8 I caught my finger in the door jam. I lost the fingernail on my left hand. Good thing--but I didn't think so at the time--but from then on I could remember which hand was LEFT and which one was RIGHT...Anyway, your story was enjoyable, and gave a lot of lessons to think about. Great work in turning everyday (hope not!) experiences into lessons of life...Helen
Carol Penhorwood 01/27/10
A job well done! And lessons learned...hopefully.