I had a rather unique and humbling experience this Christmas. On my mother's side of the family, members were immigrants from another country who came here for a better life. There were many children, only one of which is still alive today. He was a soldier and was held as a prisoner of war in our country. It is something that no one in our family ever talks about or truly even knows about. All anyone really knows is that he was a prisoner...end of story.
Today I learned a piece of that story, simply by being in good company and lending my ear. I learned a piece of history that granted me great perspective and helped me to realize even further how important the work I do is to help support our veterans here and abroad.
From the voice of a prisoner of war, he shared that they never knew when they were going to return home or if they would return home. It was a sad and lonely time, one which he doesn't like to look back on. He assured me he holds no regrets and no grudges. Everyone was doing what they were told to do at the time. Life has been hard and full of heavy burdens, but he is grateful for all of his many years on Earth and hopes to live a hundred more.
He said that he was held here in our country for a while and then served the rest of the time in another country. While in the other country he had a little book that he would read. It had sayings in it that he said he still lives by today and ones that he has never forgotten. "How strange that he remembers those little things", he said. Of those sayings, he remembers these, "If at first you don't succeed; try again." "Don't give up." "Success comes to those who are willing to work hard and expend some effort." He said he has continued to live by these sayings and remembers how hard life has been, but it is never so hard that you can stop working and moving. You must keep moving and you must keep working and he always tells himself that his best days are ahead of him. God has more in store for him and tomorrow will be a better day than today.
I've typed his story into a document and maybe one day will share it, but for right now it stays safe in my heart and it is the message of it that matters most, not the details.
For those whose burdens feel too heavy..........."Don't give up." "If at first you don't succeed; try again." "Your best days are ahead of you." "Tomorrow will be a better day than today".
You all have many years and many "best days" yet to be had. Don't allow yourself to cut that short before you find the miracle that's waiting for you in the story that is part of the history of your families. There are lessons you all have in you to teach through the burdens you've carried. One day you'll find a way to reveal that in your own way and in your own time.
May God bless each of you on your path.