Life Has Choices. Destruction. Definition and Strength.

Life Has Choices. Destruction. Definition and Strength. June 20, 2024

Life lessons on resilience.
Image Courtesy of Canva Pro

“When something bad happens, you have three choices.  You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Dr. Suess

Life is all about choices. 

We have been gifted with free will. 

Life is also about circumstances that will test that will. 

When something adverse comes your way what will you let that situation convey?

Will you muster the strength to rise above and mount up on wings like the majestic eagles that sail above?

Will you let it destroy and crush your spirit and your ability to forgive? 

Will you let the moment define you and crush your will?

Life is all about choices.  

Those choices can be summed up in a bundle of three.  

Let the situation define you, or destroy you, or gloriously strengthen you. 

Each day you can become a better person
Image Courtesy of Canva Pro

Forgiveness is Strength. Unforgiveness Destroys from Within

Being a mother of six is always interesting.  Particularly to girls.  Everyone’s perspective is different about raising kids.  I once told a friend, “Boys are easy, girls are hard to raise!”  She completely disagreed with me, she thought boys were the pain and girls were angels.  One of my daughter’s recently went through a particularly painful break-up.  The weeping and gnashing and renting of garments was acute.  The moping and grief food abounded.  Ice cream and ribs topped her list. She just could not understand why life had handed her such a painful card.  “I’ll never love again!”  This was one of the many phrases I heard during those first painful days.  My mother’s heart did feel for her. As my husband and I watched her suffer the grief of her first serious break-up, he gave her some very wise words.  He told her that for forty-eight hours she could wallow, grieve, eat all the grief food she wanted, cry, scream, curse the sky and wonder what could have been different, but after that, she needed to make the choice to learn from the situation and what could strengthen her. The feelings will still be there for some time, but you are choosing to get up and choose strength.  Choose to learn, choose to forgive the person no matter how hard because that forgiveness is for you.  Not them.  Forgiveness is strength.  Unforgiveness destroys from within. 

History can Teach us to Forgive Through Other’s Example

One subject that is quite fascinating in our family is people who have served the United States in some capacity whether it is a Senator, a House of Representatives member or President.  One such interest amongst our family is that of the late John McCain.  He was most definitely an interesting and varied figure.  The most notable portion of his life was his time as a prisoner of war during Vietnam.  He flew many combat missions during this bloody war as a Naval Aviator.  One mission he was shot down, he fractured several portions of his body  from the ejection of the aircraft, he almost drowned and he was captured by the enemy.  During that capture, his shoulder was crushed and to top it off he was bayoneted by the enemy.  He received no care and was taken to a Hanoi prison where he was beaten and tortured.  Only after the enemy realized that he was the son of an Admiral did he receive minimal care.  After more torture, he was put into solitary confinement for two years.  Can you imagine?  Never talking to a soul?  Alone with your thoughts for two whole years?  McCain was given favor because of his father’s position.  He refused the favor unless his fellow prisoners were released.  After this the abuse and torture escalated, he was bound for several hours at a time and beaten.  He suffered from dysentery.  You would think at this point he would have given up. 

Success is walking through life one day at a time
Image Courtesy of Canva Pro

McCain Walked Through the Fire

McCain did reach a low point.  He did consider suicide but the enemy stopped him.  In one last act of desperation, he released an anti-US statement.  In later years, he confessed that was one of his greatest regrets.  After a renewed sense of fortitude, he started to refuse to give any other anti-US statements.  This earned him three beatings a day.  Yet he did not give in.  After over five years of captivity, he was released to go home.  We can only imagine the pain that he felt both in his soul, spirit and not to mention his body.  Because of his injuries, he was never able to raise his arms above his head again.  Yet he returned to serve in the Navy.  Later he had a pretty extensive political career.  During the time when the US was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, he had a pretty strong opinions concerning how prisoners of war were treated in the US custody as enemies.  He knew that most likely the people that were captured probably did some pretty evil things, but his experiences those decades before molded how he thought prisoners should be treated.  I would wager to say,with all of McCain’s foibles in his life, he chose to not let the situation he so bravely endured define him.  Nor did he let the situation destroy him.  He took the reins and let the situation strengthen him.  Our lives will God willing, never come to this place of extreme severity but hopefully John McCain’s lesson of the power of the human spirit can spur us on in a mindset of strength.  

The road of life
Image Courtesy of Canva Pro

Resilience is a Remarkable Ability

As stated in the quote above. We have choices. There are times in life when it does not seem so. I understand. But if we take the words mentioned above. We can let our situations define us, destroy us or strengthen us. What is strength? Strength denotes toughness, solidarity. A will of iron. This does not imply that we will not have to walk through the fire of life, but rather. We can walk through the fire knowing that we are not going to let the situation destroy us. The key behavior that we humans possess is the remarkable trait of resilience. 

We will feel let down; we will feel angry. But in Suess’ wise words, we have the choice to make after that. To be honest readers, I had lost sight of this saying in the last few months. I let grief consume me, bitterness had taken root. But in a moment of clarity, I realized I can choose to let it define me, destroy me, or strengthen me. So can you. As always, if you are depressed or down. Please find someone to talk to. Sometimes the salve of a listening ear can do much. Also, seek God in your personal way. I am reminded of God’s peace that he will give in our quest to seek him. May we find our resilience to face each day. Thank you, Mr. McCain, for your history, may his memory be a blessing.

Browse Our Archives