Experiencing the birth of my own ten children has taught me something about pain and endurance. When I had my first baby, I was not prepared for the pain. The earlier pains of labor crippled me and brought tears to my eyes. The second time, I was able to endure it much better but began to succumb to the pain as it intensified. By my eighth labor and delivery, I had conquered the pain. The experience of giving birth changed from one of fear and intimidation to one of peace and triumph. I understood my body and I knew that even if the pain became worse than I had ever known, I knew that the time would pass and that I could triumph over it.
Like my ability to handle the pain of labor increased as I bore more children, my ability to handle the pains of life has also increased. Through each difficult time, I have learned that these times pass and the future will be brighter. I have learned that patience is a tremendous healing balm. Life cycles. Sometimes it is amazing; sometimes it is painful.
Pain, sorrow, heaviness, defeat, trials, darkness, and suffering have come upon all of humanity through all time. Sometimes dark times come to whole societies and sometimes to individuals and families. No one is alone, and no one is exempt. Studying the triumphs of others helps us to continue through our own dark times. Whether personal such as marriage difficulties, divorce, depression, job loss, rejection and death or societal troubles such as war, destruction, economic depression, disease, and rampant immorality the conquerors from history can help us face our difficult days.
Corrie ten Boom, author and holocaust victim taught, “Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”
We have the memories of the Pilgrims who suffered starvation, disease, and the deaths of half of their company, yet still conquered and built a beautiful life for themselves and their posterity. We have the memories of George Washington and the soldiers of the American Revolution. They suffered cold, hunger, death, and disease. They saw families and neighbors divide in anger. Even as they watched their countrymen die, they continued onward to become conquerors and heroes. Their patience and endurance brought freedom to their posterity and many, many others throughout the world.
We have the memories of the people who suffered through the Great Depression. They learned from their darkness. They endured, and they triumphed. We have the memories of the soldiers who fought in the world wars. They did not give up. They did not let death, degeneration, starvation, and anguish conquer them. Instead, they triumphed. We have the Holocaust survivors that endured some of the worst inhumanity of all time. Yet those who lived came out to tell the stories of the strength and goodness of the human spirit.
Pain, sorrow, heaviness, defeat, trials, darkness, and suffering are as old as time. For those who have kept going, kept fighting, and kept trying happiness, goodness, strength, and freedom have always won. Whether you are suffering from depression, job loss, death, illness, or any sort of pain know that the sun does rise in the morning. Your spirit is strong and you have the ability to endure. As we listen to news about ISIS and ebola and hear about how another judge attempts to change the definition of marriage, we can feel the darkness of our times. Yet, like before, we can conquer. Goodness can triumph. Like those before us we can experience war, death, economic depression, rampant immorality, degeneration, despair, disease, and inhumanity, endure them and conquer them.