Adversity Makes Us Stronger – If We’re Smart Enough Not To Forget

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ll never forget my first real fight in middle school. That was back in the days when they called it junior high. I’m showing my age. Ricky Brace, the bully of our bus stop, decided I was next on the list of boys to fall victim to his ego-driven need to prove he could beat up people half his size. I hadn’t done anything in particular. He just needed a fix, and I was there.

Somehow, I dodged the inevitable beating the first day, but I knew I wouldn’t get so lucky again. My mom gave me some pointers that involved things like biting, throwing sand, and kicking him someplace where bullies really don’t like to be kicked. Yes, Mom was a country girl through and through. There was no such thing as a fair fight. It was all-out war until only one person was left standing.

That person wasn’t me. I’d like to tell you I put up a valiant fight, but that’s not quite the way it went down. I did get in a couple of good punches, but at the end of round one, he was clearly in the lead and the spectators decided I’d had enough. All told, I took about a dozen good punches to the right side of my face with him sitting on my chest. I almost threw dirt in his face. Okay, I missed.

By that evening my face was turning purple. I’d seen him pound some other people (it was a habitual thing), but none as bad as me. Why? Because instead of laying down after the first punch, I tried to fight back. Mom said, “Well, at least you proved a point!” I was like, “What? That I can take a beating?” That bruising intrigued every school bully for the next two weeks.

But you know, after that day I wasn’t so scared anymore. I didn’t go looking for trouble, but two things happened as a result of that pounding. First, I learned that it wasn’t the end of the world. It sucked, to be sure. But I lived to tell about it. And also, the guys who like to throw punches without taking any in return decided to look for somebody a little less likely to fight back.

Right now, we’re all taking a pounding from a bully that singled us out just because we were there. None of us did anything to deserve this pandemic and the devastation being left in its wake. Okay, some folks ignored warnings, but who among us hasn’t taken a few risks? Yes, we need to take some extraordinary precautions. But that doesn’t mean we can stop living.

And when this is over, we’ll come back even stronger. I know that’s hard to imagine right now, especially as we watch family and friends fall victim to something for which there is no known cure, our economy is in tatters, and more people are losing their primary source of income every day. And still, toilet paper is nowhere to be found.

But I remember something my dad told me after my wife had an especially bad miscarriage that left her hospitalized for a week. He said these are the things that make us stronger in the end. That, by finding a way through crisis we discover a part of ourselves that may have been hiding until then, simply because it wasn’t needed. But it’s there, just waiting until we need it most.


Well, we need it now. And, from what I’ve seen, most people have found strength they didn’t know they had. Not only in terms of staring this thing down with a defiant determination to come out on top, but in our ability to adapt and transform with no prior planning – just the need to survive. And along the way, we’re finding more ways to help those around us.

Hopefully, these are things we’ll remember and carry with us once this crisis is over. If you think back to the overwhelming sense of national pride and unity that followed the 9/11 attacks, it’s hard to imagine that we could have become so bitterly divided in such a short time. Maybe this virus is a reminder that we still need one another, now more than ever.

It’s likely that, before all is said and done, every one of us will feel the pain of losing someone we love, and many more will have to fight the daily battle to beat this thing. But we’ll make it. And the things we’ve learned along the way won’t suddenly become irrelevant. And as long as we don’t let those things slip into the background, we can continue to learn from them.

The greatest lesson of all is that of inner strength. Everybody takes a beating now and then. The important part is that we come through with a sense of dignity, taller and stronger than ever. We’ve done it before. And we’ll do it again, because that’s who we are.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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