The Strength to Endure

Emily - Oak Hill, Virginia
Entered on September 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in endurance. Most people automatically associate the word endurance with the kind that kicks in when you’re running or playing a sport, keeping you going. But the endurance that I’m referring to is more emotional than physical. It’s the type that endures pain and suffering, the endurance that not everyone has enough of.

For the majority of my life I didn’t know what it was to endure. Yeah, I had gone through the dramatic “it’s-the-end-of-the-world” moments, like when my mom accidentally sold my favorite puppy stuffed animal at a yard sale when I was in the bathroom, I was nine. Or when my parents decided it would be best to give away our border collie Sam to friends who lived a few hours away. And again on the day when I was 15 and my parents took away my life, my cell phone. I still don’t know how I survived those three days. The night when I discovered what endurance truly was, I was 16.

On June 16th, 2006 I experienced something that no one should have to. My life took a dramatic turn for the worse on that day. I sunk into a deep depression, where almost no one could penetrate the walls I put up around me. It was an ongoing struggle to look people in the eye, positive that anyone could see through me, to my terrible secret. I began on a long road of self-destruction, from emotional to physical pain. I contemplated suicide, on more than one occasion. If someone had lifted my chin, smiled and said, “Hey, be happy, life is great!” I would have snorted at their ignorance before turning away. But if someone had said, “Hey, I know you’re going through a rough time, but all you need to do is endure it,” I might have listened. It might have made things easier.

In moments of endurance, it’s important to find something that helps you get through it. For me, it took two best friends and a supportive boyfriend to push me past the experience. You don’t have to endure hard times alone, and you shouldn’t. I discovered the beauty of sharing your hardships with others almost a year after the incident. And from time to time I still need their shoulders to lean on when my depression threatens to pull me back under.

There are times in everyone’s life when it’s impossible to be happy. It can be anything… a death of a loved one, a rejection, a divorce, a miscarriage, to a straining economic situation, where all you can do is endure. Look at those suffering today in Darfur… or Iraq… or Afghanistan. Would you be able to look someone in the eye who has lost everything and say, “Can’t you see that life is amazing?” Life isn’t always amazing, but it doesn’t have to be. I believe in enduring the moments when you think it’s impossible to do so, because better days are sure to come.