Standing Tall (Written August 30, 2019)
Despite how has life been for them,
Despite the obstacles that block the path ahead,
Somehow these people still smile through the day,
Still give genuine thanks every night before bed.
Between them they’ve lost everything
To nature’s wrath, or the change of hearts uncontrolled.
Be it their homes or their houses or loved ones,
Gone too soon for resolution or for thanks to be told.
They have, I think, faced all the world could throw:
The sorrows, losses, and trials all.
But they face the world without asking quarter.
Somehow, to my awe, they face it standing tall.
I’ve known people that the world has thrown everything at to discourage them…to break their spirit. And yet something about them retains a dignity. They face life and don’t ask quarters.
I’ve always loved this quote. It summed up so much of what I want to be as a person. I never really expected that I would one day get to know people who I could say this about, but I have known people like this.
My classmates from college honestly astound me. I had a mini reunion with them this passed week. It was extremely enjoyable, and also very eye opening. Truth be told, as much as I have always loved my classmates, I never particularly looked up to them or admired them. They were just my peers, my friends. Well, I’ve adjusted that opinion of them over this passed week.
Between them all they have really faced terrible, terrible things. They’ve lost their homes in natural disasters, they’ve lost family members and friends without any time to say goodbye. On was stalked, until finally he was forbidden to enter her home state. One of them was assaulted by her best friend’s family member while her friend looked on and didn’t help, just because she wanted her new in-laws to like her. Another had to face the terrible, terrible discovery that her father, who she loved and respected, was actually a heinous criminal- and she learned this while she was visiting home to announce her engagement. Some of them have lost babies, or discovered they had married bad people. Some have had to face the choice between abandoning their principles or being totally alienated from their families- and, to a one, they stuck to their principles, hoping they might be able to make up with their families.
But they don’t show it at all. They don’t pretend these things never happened, but they don’t dwell on then either. They spent our whole reunion talking about whose wedding was next, and congratulating the new parents among us. They shared their struggles and we commiserated, and then they greeted the new day with a smile.
I’ve never been so proud to call someone my friend- and I now have several. It is extremely hard to fathom how blessed I’ve been to be able to call these people my classmates and friends. I guess we really did pick a class quote we intended to live up to:
O voyagers, O seamen,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.’
…Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.
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