As human being's, almost every one of us has endured a life-changing event. Not just the happy events like marriage or the birth of a child, but also the events that we tuck away, too painful to bear. Many people who have survived these events, often at the hands of another human being, struggle with the impact daily. For some it haunts them wherever they go. There are others who have also survived, and sprung forth from the ashes to create some meaning out of the suffering. Most people keep living, because they have to, that's also part of being human...the sheer desire to live.
I have met people and heard their stories and wondered how they went on, people who have been tortured at the hands of those who were meant to love or protect them, people who were subjected to unimaginable cruelty just because they were seen as different or weak or "less than." I have heard stories that make me want to crawl into a dark place and cry, yet the people who own these stories keep going, keep fighting. They stand up for their freedom, for their right to a life just like anyone else. I watch in wonder and awe, how is it that people can be so resilient? How is it that a person can still greet me with a hug, a smile, a laugh, love in their eyes when they have seen the darkest side of humanity?
This, as incredible as it seems, is part of the beauty of life. Others can strip us of everything, they can show us a cruelty we never knew existed and try to take away dignity, innocence and even life...but we have a choice. Victor Frankl wrote of it in "Man's Search for Meaning," the choice we can make to go on, keep fighting and find the meaning in it all, or to allow the cruelty to swallow us. I see people every day who have risen victorious, who are truly survivors because they made the choice to go on, to make the world a better place, to not give in to hate and vengeance.
We can't touch it, taste, or hold it, but the human spirit is one of the most powerful forces to which we will ever bear witness! I am so grateful that I have, I am so grateful for the lesson, and I am so grateful to every survivor for not giving up and making the world a better place.