This I Believe

Michael - New Braunfels, Texas
Entered on November 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks

Let the Hard Times Roll!

What doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger, at least that is what I told myself through all the trials in my life. The thought would often flow through my mind during the most troubling of times.

At the age of seventeen, I engaged in a heated argument involving my father over the most ridiculous issues. Amidst the fight and in anger, my father told me to leave. I was hurt, yet I could not let my father see my pain. Acting as though it did not affect me, I quickly vacated his home and occupied a trailer with a group of guys who participated in drug and alcohol abuse. The situation put me to the test. I had to decide for myself where I stood with my morals and beliefs- I didn’t have my parents to decide for me. Throughout the trial, a comforting thought often rang through my mind with an image of my mother saying, “You are not given any more than you can handle.” I considered that thought often. It seemed to me, at the time, that I was being tested above my abilities. I was working full-time, trying to cope with the pain of separation from my family, and still needed to graduate from high school. As a result, I committed myself to the task at hand and made a decision to be drug free. I have never regretted that decision and am proud of the strength I was able to find in myself. I never did return home to live with my parents and was able to successfully transition myself into life on my own. I gained a greater confidence in my ability to work hard and make my way through any difficult situation.

The molding process would continue into my early twenties when I was jumping my snowmobile off a cliff. The worst that could have happened did–I broke my left leg below the knee into six different bone fragments. This time, I had physical pain. Hard work couldn’t help me now, only time. The healing process would require significant time away from work. I became discouraged and realized I may not be able to physically support myself my entire life. I was forced to re-evaluate my career and educational goals. Also, I did not have insurance. However, I had just returned home from a military deployment and had saved a significant amount of money. It was enough for the surgery but I did not have enough to live on for the time required to heal and not work. Financial management found new meaning. I also found an appreciation for education that I had never had before. I knew it could open many doors for me in my career. Ultimately, I gained an understanding of what my mother had said so many times, that we are not given any more than we can handle.

I believe we become who we are due to trials and tribulations. The trials mold and shape us into who we are through the ways we learn to deal with them. As plants cannot grow without sunshine, we cannot grow without trial. Likewise, if the plant is not nourished, it will lose its chance to grow. If a person is not challenged, they too will never grow.

This I believe . . . so let the hard times roll!