I’m humbled and honored by those who’ve accepted the invitation to be a guest blogger this month.
When I as a sophomore in college, I had started a job as a Resident Assistant in my college dorm. I had that job of patrolling hallways once a week, unlocking doors for other students who forgot their keys, and being a listening ear when my fellow residents needed one until I graduated three years later.
During my first year, I dealt with two students who attempted suicide; one of whom tried the week before my final exams. I was “on duty” the night after this attempt and trying to study for my finals. The office was busy and I was very overwhelmed. And then I got a phone call from my parents.
I engaged in the regular chit-chat with my mom and told her all was well. After talking with her about nothing really, my dad got on the phone and asked me how things were going. I tried chit-chatting with him, but suddenly I broke down into tears and poured out my heart to him. I told him I was tired, overwhelmed, and felt very lost. He listened, gave me a verbal hug, and told me to hang in there.
And two days later, I received one of the three letters my dad wrote to me the entire time I was in college.
In the letter, he told me that life is sometimes hard and those are the times during which we so desperately need a break. He wrote out the words to a poem he said helped him during such times. You have probably read the poem a time or two yourself. It is the one entitled “You just can’t quit” and talks about “silver clouds in times of doubt” and “you can cry, but you can’t quit because you just might succeed with another blow”. He told me to be like the pine tree and not the oak during a storm… pine trees bend so they rarely break like oak trees that don’t bend much at all.
I just turned 50 on the third of July of this year, and have had my share of “life’s storms”. And while in the midst of each storm, I remember my dad’s letter and strive to bend, if only just a little so I don’t break. It’s not always easy to bend, and sometimes such bending and stretching leaves me hurting for awhile too; but I’ve also succeeded with the next blow most times too.