Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
What does he know?
Recently crap kind of hit the fan, if you will.
I’ve been going through it. First, my husband and I caught the dreaded COVID, then we somehow contracted strep throat, then our favorite cat got hurt, then the sewer in our 1940s old house backed up and is still broken, then a lot of people were mad at me because of a decision I made, which I am still reaping the consequences from, and on and on. Blah, blah, blah.
The other day, my husband found me on the couch laughing so hard I was crying. When he asked me what on earth was so funny, I told him that I didn’t know. I couldn’t explain it. I had just washed like ten dishes in the sink in order to make dinner and the bathtub filled up with nasty sewer water all the way to the brim. So, I sat on the couch and laughed. You know those moments that feel so terrible that all you can do is laugh?
Perhaps laughing is a coping mechanism when our brains are overloaded and we have no idea what to do. The laugh-till-you-cry thing is better than outright breaking down because you’re upset, I think.
Yesterday I was kind of moping around and I remembered that I hadn’t read my bible yet, so I pulled it out and turned to the book of Philippians, an Epistle of Saint Paul, a converted member of the early church.
I read the first chapter of the book pretty quickly and began staring off into space. I felt kind of out of it yesterday. Suddenly it hit me. Actually, more like slapped me in the face.
Paul was in prison when he wrote Philippians, and Philippians is considered to be the most joyful book of the Bible. I think that’s pretty neat. There have also been almost 5 billion copies of the Bible sold. This led me to a question: “What can we accomplish through tough situations?”
What if Paul would have laid down and given up in that prison, instead of writing the letter to the Phillippians? Well, we wouldn’t have the most joyful book in the Bible today.
I began thinking of other individuals who have been faced with hard situations and accomplished something extraordinary. The first example I thought of was Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch woman who, along with her sister and father, helped hide many Jewish people in a secret room in her family’s home, which they called “the hiding place” during the Second World War.
The Ten Boom family were caught and sent to a prison camp, where her father died. Corrie and her sister, Betsie were sent from camp to camp, and held secret church services there for the other prisoners with a Bible she had snuck in.
Eventually, Betsie fell ill and died, and 12 days later, Corrie was released from the camp.
After her release, she returned home and began helping disabled individuals.
Later, in 1971, she wrote and released one of the most famous Holocaust-era books called “The Hiding Place.”
Now, the Hiding Place has sold over three million copies.
Another example is Helen Keller and I’m pretty sure you know her story. Keller became deaf and blind before her second birthday. With a lot of work and determination, Keller learned to read and write, and became the fire deaf-blind person to gain a bachelor’s degree. She also campaigned on issues of social welfare, women’s suffrage, and disability rights. Today, Keller’s story has inspired millions.
I thought of many other examples of individuals who have faced difficult times and accomplished amazing things but I don’t have enough space to write about all of them. So, these examples will have to do.
Now, hopefully most of us will not be imprisoned, like Paul, or taken to a camp, like Corrie, but we can still learn something from these individuals and apply it to our trials. All of these individuals have one thing in common and that is their willingness to endure and accomplish.
The fact of the matter is that humans are resilient beyond belief.
This caused me to think back on my own life and ask myself, where have I been resilient? What have I accomplished out of the trials I have faced?
This is a personal question that we all need to ask ourselves. We also need to ask ourselves what we will do the next time we are faced with a difficult season in our lives. What will we accomplish through that season and after we walk out of the fire?