Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2000

MONIQUE MICHEL / L’Observateur / July 26, 2000

“Character is not made in crisis – it is only exhibited.” When I read these wordsin a book recently I knew they immediately had to go up on my wall so that I would always remember them.

Admittedly, I am not, nor have I ever really been, in a true crisis. But in my life,as I’m sure in yours, situations arise and get blown out of proportion until we see them as a crisis. As we face these manmade giants we see no escape andalmost immediately admit defeat to ourselves. We sulk, we whine and we drivethose around us insane! It is in these times that our true character begins to show. No matter how “together” we may seem to the rest of the world, they seewhat we are really made of according to our reactions.

I mentioned earlier that some people whine when put in difficult situations.

This is me. I do that. I whine. Ask anyone who has ever spent quality time with me. Iget a little puppy dog face, my eyes grow to the size of saucers, my lips begin to quiver and the most annoying voice you could ever imagine somehow vibrates through my vocal cords until everyone around me stops and listens. I’m a goodwhiner.

The strange thing is that the other day God showed me that I should be able to rise above even the worst crisis without having to whine. He was convicting meof my character. I never really understood that my character meant so much. Ifigured that everyone got a little uptight or stressed every now and then and that such reactions were only to be expected. Then I read that quote that Iopened up with and realized that the fiber of who we really are is exposed when we are tested. That it doesn’t matter if on the good days I am a “happy” person.It only matters who I am when everything around me is shaky. And then itdawned on me.

I started to think about the different friends I have and how they react when things are difficult. Some withdraw and seek solitude, some pout, some getangry and some could just cry for days. And I saw how all of those reactionsshowed me something about each one of them.

I also realized that people must think some pretty bizarre things about me when I pout like a 2-year-old when things don’t go my way. That really opened myeyes to the fact that our character does matter.

So in closing, I challenge each person who reads this to evaluate what your character is really made of. Horace Greely once said, “Fame is a vapor,popularity an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow, only one thing endures – character.” I know that I want my character to be the same in good or bad situations, and I pray the same for you.

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