In a big country like ours, life is full of contrasts. We go from the canyons of New York City to the Grand Canyon of Arizona. We celebrate Senior Chief Edward Byers and give him the Congressional Medal of Honor for shooting the enemy and showing incredible bravery in the retrieval of a hostage. We wonder in disbelief how another human being could go into a lawn mower parts factory, take people hostage and cut them down indiscriminately? We admire people with plenty in our land and then we look askance at people with plenty of nothing. Amazing place.
We are known for our pluckiness and resolve. I wonder not at what makes people successful but what keeps them coming back for more when they are knocked down. You read of every manner of being who has put up with failure only to try for that brass ring or a new start time and time again. How about people who have overcome handicaps of every sort both physical, mental and financial? What is it that makes them hang in there in the face of unbelievable odds?
This is not just a romantic concept that finds its outlet in “chick” flicks. There is something going on here that demands study by all of us. Warren Buffett took many economists and pundits to task in his annual letter this weekend. He said we can figure out how to live on 2 1/2% growth rate and have a good life. But if you listen to the Donald, our country sucks and if you harken to Bernie and at times Hilary our good times are behind us unless of course you elect one of them. Maybe it is time for America to rebel not only against politicians but all the bad news we have been hit with.
We all have something that has gone wrong in our lives. We have lost jobs and loved ones. A child has been gravely ill or diagnosed with a horrible malady. Maybe we have lost our faith. Maybe we have lost our face. Anyone who tells you they have not been through a crisis of one sort has somehow missed out on life. Of course we all know one or two braggarts who have never lost money in the stock market or on a business deal. Their marriage and kids are perfect. Good for them in their fantasies. Don’t dare look below the surface.
Psychology Today tells us “Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes” Fair enough, but do we all have the capability? Strangely enough we all do but some just don’t want to listen to their internal “Knute Rockne” speech. You know that they take some sick pleasure in wallowing in self pity and the idea the world is against them.
There was an interesting study at the University of Michigan into bouncing back from adversity. It seems that those that recover have the ability to understand the gravity or sorrow in situation and deal with it while others keep reliving the vile experience over and over again. They can’t neutralize their emotions. “Get over it” is not in their lexicon. Yes, the sensitive are more prone to getting stuck. So are those that do not plan well or who are reticent to make decisions. Yet those traits are acquired not inherited.
As I think back on my life I can’t count the times I have been knocked down. Some incidental bumps and others head on collisions that have taken their toll. Some are self inflicted. I have a tendency to speak my mind which I know will shock all of you. That doesn’t always work well. I also am prone to taking chances and thank God I have a wife who is a good sport or at least she says she is. But I do have the ability to look myself in the eye and admit I have screwed up. There are two keys hidden here. A good support system and the ability to call a spade a spade.
But the rebound is not automatic. It takes work and that is where people flater. You mean there is no pill for this or that? Sorry,but no. I am too old, too tired,too busy, too stressed to deal with it right now is the common litany of excuses. I went back to weight training this week and of course overdid it. Walking like an invalid has me questioning a second day of madness. Something inside says forget it but there is another that says get off your ass and do it. Guess which one won out?
That was a frivolous example and many of you are facing much more trauma than a sore butt. There was a couple in church on Sunday with their severely palsied boy of 18 or 19. I know many of you who have lost loved ones and yet have faced things full frontal. If I were a 55-60 year old today who had lost his job I don’t think I would be up for TTG’s message of hope. But then again somehow we survive. Somehow we make sense of all this.
As I work in hospice I have been involved in many final hour situations. The human body no matter how diseased or broken is an amazing thing. There are telltale signs the end is near. One of the most dramatic is that the patient’s extremities get cold. The blood is no longer pumping there. The body knows it is in trouble and tries at all cost to protect the torso and use whatever it has to preserve the strength in its most vital organs. When you would almost expect a person to totally acquiesce they are fighting with all they know. That is true grit. Let’s hope we can fight as hard for our world that we so cherish.
Ted The Great.
SEAL training is over 50 weeks long. The recruits are constantly pushed physically and mentally with each week getting worse not easier.Hell week has you sleeping no more than four hours a day and under incredible pressure for the remaining 20. Around 1000 start out and about 200 make it to receive their SEAL trident. During training they can opt out by taking their helmet off and ringing a brass bell three times. I imagine it would kill me to have to do that. Here’s to those that make it.
The Donald called out Sen. John McCain for not being a war hero. He flippantly said heroes don’t get captured. McCain broke a leg and both arms upon ejection from his plane and lasted over five years in the Hanoi Hilton. I call that resolve and a healthy pair of you know whats.
Special Note from my nephew :
Some of you probably know Glen Doherty passed away during the 9/11/12 attacks in Benghazi. Glen was a good friend of mine who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting his fellow Americans. In order to remember and honor Glen, his family set up the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation to celebrate Glen’s life and his passion for igniting the human spirit through adventure and education.
The best way I can honor my friend is by asking for your help in locating Veterans that may qualify for one of the scholarships offered by the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation. Additionally, I am looking for members of your community to donate to this worthy cause. Donations can be made directly at http://www.glendohertyfoundation.org/.
This fund provides scholarships, subsidies, and gifts to current and former special operations professionals in one of four ways:
•Scholarships for current or former Special Operation Professionals used for traditional education
•Scholarships for current or former Special Operations Professionals used for vocational and non-traditional training
•Subsidies and grants for the children of Special Operations Professionals to attend camps that build leadership
•Gifts for the families of Special Operations Professionals and Foreign Service Officers, where a loss or life-changing debilitating injury has been suffered, to be used for recreation as a way of supporting the family unit through positive outdoor activities
Any donations or recommendations for scholarship recipients would be greatly appreciated!
Good morning Ted….
I wanted to thank you for your frequent musings. I met you several years ago at MPB when doing a presentation for the Sunday morning gathering. Your writings always inform, usually challenge, frequently tickle, and certainly inspire me. Take good care and enjoy this glorious day! Blessings to you and yours………Jane Barton