When things get tough, where do you draw your strength from?
On the eve of this approaching new year, I’m quite thankful to still be tripping over these feet of mine.
Overall, I’d chalk 2015 up as a great one, it was definitely well lived. Although, like many, I’d guess, there were a few hiccups along the way.
I once heard that if life isn’t throwing you challenges, you aren’t really living. Hmmm. That makes it sound like the challenges are gifts. Gifts? Isn’t that a contradiction? It seems a bit ironic, if you ask me.
However, maybe there’s some truth to that. Perhaps the gift is the lesson that gets pulled out at the end? That makes a bit more sense to me because I’m always looking for the lessons.
Although each of our circumstances are unique, here are some life challenges that are pretty relatable:
- Financial troubles- days when pay checks don’t come, but bills still do
- Losing a loved one and not making it to say goodbye to them in time
- Disagreements with loved ones
- Health issues
- Friendships that end after putting our hearts into them
- News of a friend getting sick
- Losing a pet
- When a friend moves
At times, we can draw strength from things we have already been through. It’s almost like we have little tiny pieces of memories intertwined with patched up feelings that are tucked safely away in a heart pocket in our mind. When a similar situation presents itself, we can reach into that pocket and grab the “Oh yeah, I’ve been here before, I can get through this” strength reserve.
Other times, new situations arise and we have no idea what to do. That happened to me earlier this year and I was stuck having to make a huge decision and had no idea which direction to go.
Have you ever had your boots sink in the mud and when you tried pulling them out they wouldn’t budge? That’s how I felt. I needed strength and guidance in a big way.
So, where did I turn? To my grandparents.
I got out my letters from them and sat in my closet rereading them. You wouldn’t believe how much that helped me! Just thinking about the good and hard times of their lives, was such an eye opener.
For example, my mom’s dad had to quit school in the 6th grade to work on the farm and spent most of his life farming. Her mom quit school in 8th grade to clean houses to help with the family income. She worked nearly all of her 71 years, simply because she loved to work.
Dad’s mom, Grandma Wilma, graduated high school at age 15 and went to college at a time that not many women went to college. After college, she became a teacher at age 17. Talk about some strength and determination! These were some hard working people.
Their lives brought the Great Depression up close. As farmers, at times they struggled and lost their crops after pouring their hard work into them. They lost loved ones. They had health issues. In fact, grandma Irene had eleven surgeries and grandma Wilma beat cervical cancer!
One of the things I admire the most about them is how long they were married. Mom’s parents were married 50 years when grandma passed away. Dad’s were married 73 years, when we lost grandpa.
Besides being great role models for times when their lives were tough, they also taught me how to be gracious and see the best in things.
After reading those letters and drying my cheeks, I was able to make a solid decision and I haven’t looked back. I often wonder what my grandparents would think if they knew how much I love how they lived their lives, and how great it is to fill my life with strength from old souls.