When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We’ve heard it a thousand times. Yet when we are immersed in challenging times the saying becomes more than just a cliche. The light comes on and suddenly the saying really speaks to us. In recent months I had that light go on. I understood and felt what that meant in a way I really haven’t before.
It is times like this (to borrow another cliche) when we discover the stuff we are really made of. Not only are we tested, but so are the members of our team. The people surrounding us. Whether they be our family, friends, or co-workers. The funny thing about times like these is they are a catalyst. They are the fire that tests our relationships and our passion and commitment in a way that easy times cannot.
In the African Savanna seasonal fires play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity. Concentrated periods of rain followed by long dry seasons and scorching fires prevent the savanna from turning into either a desert or rainforest. Some animals are killed in the fires, but it is mostly insects with short life spans. Larger animals escape the area. Some animals burrow deep in the ground for the duration of the firestorm. Dry stems and grasses are consumed by the fire, but their deep roots are unharmed. Certain trees have thick, fire-resistant bark and the ability to store water in their trunks. When the rainy season comes again the savanna experiences an explosion of growth and new life.
Life is like that. Fires rage through our lives consuming the unnecessary, leaving only the things – and people – needed in our lives. Renewing our appreciation for every opportunity, every moment, every person in our lives. Renewing our passion to achieve our life’s purpose. In these moments we discover if we have the courage and determination to change our fortunes and achieve our goals. We discover if we have true grit.
Today’s post was prompted by a recent viewing of the Coen Brothers’ True Grit. Mattie Ross (played brilliantly by Hailee Steinfeld) tells Jeff Bridges’ character, Rooster Cogburn, “They tell me you are a man with true grit.” It is little Mattie Ross who most assuredly proves that she has true grit. For she will not allow her age, sex or the lack of support from those around her to deter her from her goal, even if it means losing something important in the process.
The wonderful thing about going through times that question the mettle of which we’re made is coming out on the other side wearing a smile on your face (even if it’s beat up and a little more weathered) and hand-in-hand with the people who are supposed to be in your life. It is a victorious feeling. A very Mattie Ross moment.
Check out the trailer for True Grit below. Then share your story or thoughts on enduring challenging times in the comments and add your link below.