My little family has suffered quite a few setbacks this year. It hasn't been easy to weather these times, but one thing I do know: it has brought us closer and made us stronger. I take comfort in this Bible verse:
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."--2 Corinthians 4:8-9
"Hard-pressed" to me means that I am being molded and shaped and compressed - in other words, I am being strengthened. And there is joy in that.
When I look back on my life at all the struggles I've been through, I can see how they have made me stronger, more resilient. They haven't made me harder; instead, they've made me more compassionate. And doesn't this world need more compassion?
Adversity is not a curse - it is a blessing. Without it, we would not be able to connect with those who are suffering and offer them hope and understanding. Without it, we would be weak and easily broken.
Our culture likes to think that we should be happy all the time. I reject this. Sometimes, the things that make us happy can actually destroy us. "Being happy" doesn't necessarily equal "good for us." We've lost that in the cultural narrative, I think, and it's dangerous. I may want to eat a slice of pie and a cookie and two pieces of cake every single day because it makes me happy - but I won't be happy when my health deteriorates because of it. That's a small example, of course, but useful nonetheless.
Instead, we should be open to experiencing all that the human condition has to offer, even if it means we go through rough times. How else can we relate to others? How else can we truly live? How else can we learn?
Embrace life, even the bad times, because yes, it does build character, and it does make you stronger and it does make you more resilient. And even better? You can help others. People who see you going through adversity, enduring it, not buckling under, can find inspiration from you. And yes, you are definitely allowed to "lose it" sometimes - I've had several times in my life when I've cried and wailed and wondered, why me, God? But the point is, you keep moving forward. Always forward.
One day at a time. One hour, one minute, one second.