The story is told of a man who was tired of the problems in his life. He climbed up a tree to eat the last banana he had and planned to take his life after. But while he was in the tree, he ate his banana and dropped the peel to the ground. Another man had come along and was sitting under the tree. This man was going through his own hard times and he picked up the banana peel and ate it. Right then the first man realized his situation was not as bad as he though. There was someone who had it worst than him. He climbed down the tree and went back home.
I cannot say if this is a true story or not but most people can relate to going through a time of difficulty and thinking nothing could possibly get worst. In that moment seeing beyond the pain feels impossible. We are convinced there is no one going through a worst situation than we are at the moment. Our difficulties seem monumental and no one can convince us they are not.
Although it is hard, if we could take a moment to look outside of ourselves we would see that even though our situation may be tough there are others going through much worst.
I remember being in the hospital with my then 3 year old son who had come down with pneumonia. It was a painful and uncertain time for me. I was afraid for my son but while at the hospital with him I saw so many other mothers whose children were far more sick. Mothers who were sure to spend a lot longer than the week we ended up spending there. This shifted my perspective. I was able to see that my situation was difficult but clearly there were others doing way worst.
Shifting our minds from our situation to others around us can help to refocus us. While it will not remove our difficult situation, it will remind us that we are able to handle more than we think we can. And in the words of the often quoted scripture, we do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13).