Finding others

Many times, we know very little about the journey of others. People see me how I am now, and are surprised when they learn about some of the challenges I faced. The surprise is often mutual, and I gain a deeper respect for someone upon hearing their inspiring stories of resiliency and fortitude.

We tend to see each other in the moment, not as the journey that brought us to this moment. This snapshot view of a person is like a filter that makes it difficult to find others who have had similar experiences or walked parallel paths.

Many people are born into difficult situations of varying degrees. Some people are determined to make it out of their situation regardless, while others spend years tracing old circles to try to understand the past. I’ve seen it both ways: people ruminating on circumstances that could never, at this point, be resolved, while others push through to the light.

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On some level, the details aren’t as important as the resolution. That is, it’s not so much what each of us endured, but that we survived it. The skills we gained are transferrable. Perhaps the perspective gained from enduring hard times makes daily challenges seem minor by comparison. Perhaps the confidence in one’s abilities to cope is strengthened during trials. We should all give ourselves a bit more credit.

Somehow in this messy world we find each other. There can be a recognition between certain survivors. Ironically, those who persevere are often happy people. A friend of mine lived a childhood of extreme poverty. “Now when hard times come, I don’t worry at all,” she told me. She often smiles and sings to herself. I identify with her in this way. We are both suns and moons for each other: shining light and reflecting it. Together, we drive back the darkness. This is what we can do when we find each other.

Question: What is in your favor when an impending storm approaches?
Answer: Your survival through previous storms.

I will tell you there is no magic or trait that enables one person to survive and another person to falter. By definition, you are a survivor. We are all survivors, the progeny of generations of survivors who were tenacious, hopeful, adaptable, faithful, and strong. It is in our blood. Believe in it, and feel the power that has brought you to this point in your life.

Survive through the heart, with determination, when you need to. The rest will catch up. Nothing in life stays the same. It is just a matter of riding the wave and having faith in renewal. Do what you can, and leave the rest to God. And along the road to renewal, find those who understand your journey and hold tight.

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