Sunrise Magazine Online

Stumbling Blocks — Or Stepping Stones

By Nelia Conrad

Life is made up of various experiences, that man's education be complete. Repeatedly we are brought face to face with situations where there is no apparent knowledge as to how to meet them with success. Many obstacles appear in the path of every man. They are as stumbling-blocks, sometimes so large as to hinder progress. Unable to step over them, and being in too much of a hurry to move them, we make a detour. Time after time a similar block will face us. At times, there may be a weak but ineffectual effort to push the stone from the Path. Too often we leave them where they are.

Finally however, the inward press of evolution compels us to seek a way of cutting out the detours that no further time be lost. We know that somewhere, somehow, at some time along life's journey, the hindrance must be moved. How surprising, then, to discover that the moment our decision is made, what little effort is required to move the stone! And what riches of mind and soul are added when a stumbling-block is finally removed. Truly it has become a stepping-stone in character building.

I am reminded of an old fable I heard when a child. A certain wealthy man decided to put his careless, thoughtless neighbors to a test. One day one of them was traveling down a particular path when he saw a large stone firmly embedded in the dirt road. He carefully drove around it, leaving it undisturbed. During the following days, a regular road was made around the rock, making a crooked track for each traveler to follow.

After a little while when all had left the stone unmoved, the rich man called his neighbors together at that place, saying: "That stone was placed there purposely. I desired to try you, to see if perchance there would be even one among you who would make the effort to clear the road for himself and others. You, have all failed. Now I shall do it and you will see what you have lost by your slothfulness."

He then moved the stone, and there in a little hollow was a bag of gold pieces with this notice — "To the one who moves this stone!"

Stumbling-blocks are truly a challenge to progress, for by stopping to remove them not only are we, ourselves, enriched, but the path of the next one following us is smoothed, and the hidden gold of achievement is ours for the effort.

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