After re-reading the post, the follower later conceded that my intent was misunderstood, but our dialogue on the subject brought up (for me, at least) an issue that I avoided in that post. My posts here are meant to illuminate those small but often overlooked lessons in life. I strive to be positive and offer encouragement and inspiration for everyday living, but, let's face it, some days and some outcomes just suck.
Despite our fervent prayers and best efforts, people we love will die, friendships we cherish will fail, marriages will fall apart and people will grievously disappoint us. While I try to focus on the positive — both in my life and on this blog — the harsh realities of life are not lost on me. And though I've seen my share of hard luck and heartbreak, all in all, my life so far has been pretty darn good. I haven't been trapped in a burning car and lost my legs. I haven't suffered a serious injury that put me in a wheelchair. I haven't known the anguish of hearing a cancer diagnosis or lived with the reality of chemo treatments.
After the concerned reader misunderstood my intent on resilience, I messaged a friend who lost her husband to cancer. This friend, who is still grieving the loss of her husband, publicly commented that she found my words helpful that day. When I asked privately if she found anything in my words offensive, she said no, that she understood my point. But our email conversation also led me to acknowledge this truth: Sometimes no matter how hard we fight or how hard we try, bad things will still happen.
There, I said it. Sometimes it is not going to be ok. Sometimes life will punch us in the gut and suck the air right out of us. I don't like to admit this reality, but I know it's there, lurking around the corner and possibly poised to render me breathless.
Of course, we need to and are entitled to grieve and feel our losses — even to wallow in a little self pity over our bad luck or rough circumstances. But at some point, we must find the energy to move on. We have to keep going! No matter the outcome, good or bad, we have to keep going.
Why? Because, as my friend further pointed out, the alternative is not acceptable. When asked by people how she's dealt with the loss of a spouse, the death of other family members and various struggles in a few short years, her response was: "What choice do I have?"
That's the lesson! We either keep fighting or we give up. At the very least, giving up leads to a life of depressed misery. At the very worst, it becomes tragic. Years ago, this same friend and I witnessed the outcome of giving up when a mutual friend lost the will to go on and committed suicide.
When it comes to dealing with the troubles of life, my friend put it this way: "The difference is in how you attempt to handle it."
Today may not be ok, but tomorrow can be. Tomorrow might bring tragedy, but the sun can shine again. As long as we're still breathing, there's still hope. (Tweet it!) Even if cancer calls, let's fight until we're healed or dead. Whatever life brings, let's give it our all until we can't give anymore. Even if we lose the battle in the end, we win the war by knowing we gave it everything we had. We win by being resilient.
If you're reading this and feel ready to give up — please call a friend or a hotline. Let someone help you, even if you can't help yourself. If you're reading this and determined to keep fighting, I encourage you to keep going one more day. And to all of you, let's greet the challenges and struggles of the day with a spirit of strength and resilience. Let's determine that regardless of the outcome we will not give up ... that giving up is not an option.
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