By Samantha McKenzie
A friend of mine reminded me today of a low point in his distant past. He shared the trauma caused by his well-meaning family, the stint of homelessness that followed, and the kindness of friends and strangers that endured him during this very painful ordeal.
This was about the same time we met as struggling college students. Funny thing is I don’t remember any of his sadness. During the height of his sorrow, he managed to be the kind of young man that made everyone around laugh hysterically. He had an endearing soul, with a brilliant mind, razor sharp wit, enveloped within an altruistic nature. He worked diligently to earn his degree, moved swiftly into the workforce and would later become a successful entrepreneur.
From time to time we all find ourselves in unfavorable situations. We make choices and end up in places we didn’t think we’d be. Sometimes others make the choice for us. Either way, we are forced to deal with pain.
Let’s face it. We don’t schedule unemployment, homelessness, or the loss of a loved one. No one hopes to one day file bankruptcy, go through a bitter divorce or be involved in a car accident. Try, try as we may, we all plan to make the right choices, err on the side of safety and avoid life’s pitfalls.
Pain perches itself on everyone’s window sill often.
It is during these struggles that our character is shaped and remolded. This is the place where we find out how far we will go, how quickly we will turn away and how long we can endure. These low points are our battlefields for learning. Where we face great adversaries, meet grave challenges and learn our threshold for pain.
We get quickly acquainted with patience and humility. We bow our heads towards forgiveness and faith. We learn to carry more than our fair share of weight and take on bigger responsibilities. We expand and we grow.
My friend reminded me of the struggle and the triumph. I tip my hat to how he laughed at defeat and smirked wickedly at the disbelievers.
I’m sure he went on to learn more fruitful lessons in life. His list of accomplishments throughout the years are a testament. But today I get to marvel at how he muddled through this personal tragedy with a steady joyfulness and a pocketful of character. I gladly add him to my list of heroes.
A wise person once wrote, “Success is what happens when you get back up after falling.”