Before diving in to all that lies ahead, it seems like a good time to look back at the year in review. Beth posed an an interesting question to us this week. What’s one thing that happened this year, good to bad, that left a lasting impression?
That’s a tough question to answer. One thing? Just one?
There have been so many.
One of the experiences that left a lasting impression on me this year was a working trip last spring to North Carolina’s amazing Outer Banks. So many things about that trip created lasting memories. My mother went along, and gal pal, Teresa Loman met up with us there. Together, we researched, photographed, discovered the Outer Banks’ hidden places and little-known treasures, and enjoyed a little time away from the world. The Outer Banks in the off-season is beautiful, quiet, unspoiled. So many of the days there, ours were the only footprints on the beach for as far as we could see. Miles of sand and water, and not another living soul. Magic. Peace. Beauty. Majesty.
Other than the sheer beauty of the place, the history and the resilience of the people remained with me. We had come expecting to find an area struggling to recover from the effects of a devastating hurricane the previous fall, but what we found was a people accustomed to helping each other to pick up, and dig out, and move on. Over the course of the winter, the stalwart natives of the Outer Banks, many descendants themselves of strong men and women who forged an uncertain living by the sea, had made ready to open for business and welcome the tourists of a new season.
And then, this fall, another hurricane. Sandy. Sudden, unexpected. Another brutal hit. Once again, the Outer Banks is digging out, nailing back together, and rebuilding. It’s hard to imagine the magnitude of the struggle, the uncertainty of life lived on a sandbar, where the tides constantly shift, but there is a lesson in these people, in this place.
With all the difficulty, the storms, and the challenges, the people remain. They rise again, time after time.
They’re the embodiment of a proverb that’s worth remembering, no matter what shape our storms may take, no matter what our struggles may be.
Fall down nine times, get up ten.
The inscription on this memorial statue on Roanoke Island speaks to those working to recover from Hurricane Sandy, and any of us struggling to rise from the storms of life. It reads:
For all to remember
That with the help of God
A dedicated people
We can still build from the ruins
In the end, life is not about how we fall, but how we rise.