I woke up to a beautiful white blanket of snow on the ground, it was stunning. It looked like a perfect Christmas morning. Because of where I grew up I rarely got to see snow, much less wake up to the magic of it.

The power of God to change the look of our world while we are sleeping to awake to a new world, a different world, to say the least, was exhilarating.

The problem with this day of God’s magical hand was that it wasn’t Christmas and I was sleeping outside on a job site. To wake up to snow when you’re sleeping in it, is much different when you gaze upon it from the warm shelter of a home.

It was 1981, Midland Texas. Our country was in a tough economic recession. There weren’t many jobs available anywhere, so us, the unemployed went wherever we had to for employment opportunity.

I worked in three states in less than one year in order to survive. Circumstances that we live through certainly have a bearing on our perspective.

When I was a boy I loved to go camping. We didn’t do too much of it, but when we did I truly enjoyed it. What kid doesn’t? My parents had a big tent that the six of us could sleep in. I remember in detail the smell and feel of the brisk mountain air as my mom fried bacon in a skillet over the open campfire.

My perspective as a child was if or when you could sleep outside and be camping, life would be perfect! As an adult, I’m not a big camper. Having been forced by the financial reality of life to sleep outside with camping as a necessity for survival, put a new perspective on how  I enjoyed “the great outdoors.”

Sleeping outside, showering 2 or 3 times a week at the YMCA at a buck a pop is somewhat of an adventure. The perspective is usually determined by circumstances. Do we have a choice or is it a necessity?

Many people in our country are making difficult choices due to our present economic meltdown. The choices we make now will help shape our future perspectives.

I guess in 1981 I had a choice. I could have stayed at home and tried to get a government handout. Maybe I could have begged on a corner. I didn’t think I had a choice. At the time, I never considered anything except trying and never giving up.

I’m not saying I’m exceptional for having done so. It is what was expected of me from my family and my country, the way I viewed it at the time.

My wife and I have friends that have had to move across the country to find a way to survive. A husband of one of the couples has been working out of town for over a year. He just got relocated to California. This time it is for a promotion. If he never had to navigate the tough times he would never have reached a goal he’s dreamed about since I’ve known him.

My wife’s other friend sent pictures of the ocean in Connecticut that she now lives four blocks from. She told my wife she can’t remember being this happy in years. This couple had lost a business here, and yet now she’s happier than she’s been in years.

I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t had adversity in their life. I’m convinced that the ones who fight through on their own or by the grace of God and don’t give in or give up, are the ones who receive the most blessings.

Maybe not riches, but something of more value than silver or gold.

They earn what money can’t buy or what anyone can give, not even at Christmas… Self-respect.

I think I’ll go camping again… This time I’ll be taking a tent… and bacon.