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Tough times come, tough times go

Posted: October 14, 2014 5:12 p.m.
Updated: October 15, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Lately, I seem to be reminded of the old adage “tough times never last but tough people do.” It has me wondering: do tough people simply outlast the tough times or is it that people actually become tough as a result of surviving adversities over and over? Perhaps the answer lies in what we find on the other side of those difficult times. Perchance on the other side of these really burdensome and painful moments in our lives lay tougher people. It does make sense. Trying and practicing to be tough over and over would have to deliver a positive result, right? It can. We have to get through the low valleys to get to the high peaks.

The long good-bye my siblings and I have been coping with for the past five years is nearing its conclusion. We have been bidding a loving adieu to our mother who has been shadowed by the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s. But in the midst of its brutal custody of our parent, we know it could be worse. Many never get a long good-bye instead they must carry the burden of losing a loved one suddenly without any parting heartfelt words.

The point here is that no one is free from problems, difficulties, or hardships. They play a role in everyone’s life. Tough times have a unique way of putting trivial events in perspective. I have to remind myself that there will always be an end to a bad storm. We are not going to stay in the same negative situation forever. It will change. Pain can have an ending. There is invariably a way out of life’s struggles whether it’s the way we imagined or not. The creek leads to the river and the river leads to the ocean. It’s inevitable. I have to recognize the fact it is just a moment; it is not unending. After the rain, sun will come. Winter will bring spring.

We would all agree without a doubt, life is not going to be free of suffering. We have to deal with the frailty of our human condition. We have to deal with death. We have to deal with bad things like cancer. We have to deal with things like tsunamis that claim 10,000 lives. We have to deal with things like starving children, heartache, the loss of a beloved pet, natural disasters, unimaginable death in war. No one is exempt from tough times.

What we must remember is these hardships visit all of us but they do not last. It’s the tough people that go on. History teaches us every problem has a life span; no problem is permanent though problems never leave us the way they found us. No person emerges from tough times untouched. But the way we respond to our struggles can determine really how tough we are as we stand before adversity.

Though not all problems can be solved, a certain acceptance, optimism, devotion to our faith can help us respond positively, creatively, and with energy to negative crisis. For me, realizing the how instead of the why helps eliminate unfavorable thoughts in my head. Discovering the lessons out of tough times can always put us in a forward-looking mode. Lessons are good. Whatever the situation, there will always be a lesson amidst the pain. Look for the lessons. In tough times, don’t let go. Don’t let the candle blow out. Don’t quit. Dig in and hold on. Tough times do not last. It’s the tough people that do. R.I.P. O. deL. 10/08/14.

“The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy” --Martin Luther King.

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