Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Standing Strong in Difficult Times

Recently, my husband and I traveled to Carmel, California, and hiked out to a ledge where a lone cypress tree clung to a barren bluff by the ocean. As I enjoyed the magnificent beauty of the setting, I thought about how sometimes life is like that tree. As we hang onto faith, courage, and peace when the winds and trials of life buffet us, we become like this little tree, standing strong in difficult times.

My friend, Dianne, has discovered how to face great trials with faith and courage. Her recently published book, Our Journey of Hope, inspires me to hang onto hope when life seems bleak and hopeless. This is Dianne's description of their journey, "What would you do if doctors declared you only had twelve months to live? What is the measure of a man who defies that disheartening declaration for over ten years without remission? In "Our Journey of Hope" I share our story of how my husband kept fighting cancer and living life. He dealt with many surgeries and setbacks but continued to move forward with courage, optimism, and faith. The epilogue shares personal lessons learned from our immediate family, including Ford, myself, our children, their spouses, and our older grandchildren. Twenty people personally connected to Ford's battle with cancer express their feelings and faith about Ford, family, and God's plan for us all."

Dianne's husband, Ford, has a few days left in this life. I visited with Dianne a few days ago before my husband and I left on a business trip and was again amazed by her strength and serenity. Amid the sorrow of caring for her husband during his final days on this earth, she exudes peace and hope: hope for a better world where Ford will no longer suffer, hope that the Lord will sustain her as a widow, and hope that God will continue to carry them both in their new journeys. If you know anyone who is dealing with cancer, this book may provide them comfort and courage.

Les Brown said, "Just because fate doesn't deal you the right cards, it doesn't mean you should give up. It just means you have to play the cards you get to their maximum potential." Ford and Dianne have done just that. I love this quote by Maya Angelou, "One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

May you find peace amid the struggles you face. May you find inside yourself the courage to endure trials and disappointments, and may you stand strong as you place your trust in a Higher Power.

© Carol Brown

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