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I’ve been a Shakespeare fan for almost as long as I can remember. When I was 12 I found a tattered copy of ” Hamlet” amongst some old books in our house and devoured the story in less than a week. “Hamlet” remains my personal favorite to this day.

One of my favorite lines from the play is uttered by Claudius just after Ophelia’s death. He says:

“When troubles come, they come not single spies. But in battalions!”

(I have seen this with “sorrows” rather than “troubles”, but my first reading used “troubles” and the word seems much darker to me somehow.)

As I’ve grown up, I have come to realize the truth of this statement goes beyond the life-shattering events (such as pratically everyone being dead by the end of “Hamlet”) to the simple mundane “troubles” of everyday life.

If your alarm doesn’t go offin the morning because of a power outage, having to rush to get ready is just the beginning. You’ll probably be late for work, forget to grab something for lunch, forget your wallet because you’re in a hurry (so, no lunch for you), and maybe forget your security badge as well. All of these things can be easily attributed to being in a rush, but they make us feel like the whole world is out to get us. It becomes very easy to throw up our hands and give up in those circumstances. God knows I’ve been there, done that.

But, when the troubles come in battalions, think of this. Your uncle didn’t murder your father then marry your mother. His ghost didn’t haunt you demanding revenge. Your girlfriend didn’t go crazy then drown herself. And, that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

At least you’re not Hamlet.


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