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Adversity is one of the great forces for revelation in the universe.  It’s easy to maintain whatever facade we have erected while times are good.  During good times we barely have to do maintenance. Just a patch here and a little spot paint there, and the image we want the world to see is intact on a day-to-day basis.  In fact, it becomes so easy that we don’t even realize that those walls we build to keep the world at whatever distance defines our comfort zone extend inward.  The mask isn’t just an outward face, we maintain those same pantomimed movements when dealing with our own psyches.

That’s all just being part of being human.  We need to have defined boundaries for the outside world to protect the small zones where we keep the fears and rages that are as much a part of use as anything else.  And, sometimes we need to duck behind those walls ourselves and pretend that those things aren’t really there.

But, I have found that when the stability that we count on starts to be slowly pulled out from beneath us, those walls and masks become ever harder to keep intact.  Fear, anger, and sorrow can flood out from behind carefully built and maintained levees to leave us adrift in a river that we didn’t even know was within us.

I have been struggling in those dark waters for almost two weeks now.  The emotions rush unchecked at times and I ebb and flow between rage at what has happened and tears brought on by fear of what is to come.  Luckily, I have a wonderful partner who has held out a hand and steadied me.  The waters still swirl around me, but I don’t feel like they are going to sweep me away anymore.

One of many things I have learned as I have navigated these straits is the importance of pride.

I’m not talking about the pride that is more akin to arrogance or hubris and is named as one of the seven deadly sins.  No, I speak of a sense of pride that keeps you from allowing the adversity to drown you.  A sense of self that drives you to find solutions to the problems rather than depending on others to take care of you.  The strength of character that makes you feel something bordering on shame when you must lean on the kindness of strangers to keep yourself going.  It is this sense of pride that helps separate those who pull themselves from that raging river of adversity from those who simply let it carry them away.

And, thus, I was faced with a decision.  Am I a man who has pride in his soul or am I willing to be one of the faceless masses that simply accept and depend on everyone else to keep them afloat?  The decision for me is simple.  I will do what I have to do to claw my way out.  I will accept what help is offered, but only for as long and far as necessary.

I hold pride in my soul, and I will find a way to triumph in the face of this adversity.

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