Humanity is complicated. It is broken. It is resilient. Some rise from the ashes and some stumble and cannot get back up. I find myself staring, sometimes from afar, at the lives of people - some whom I know and love deeply, and some whom I've just briefly encountered. The impossible is thrown at absolutely everyone. Each person, at an individual level, is required to respond to it. People I've talked with in just the past week:
The survivor of a brain aneurysm who found new life, new purpose and a determination to more-than-survive past the impossible.
The officer who experienced a brain tumor, lost vision in one eye, lived through radiation not once but twice, regained his vision, but ultimately lost the ability to pursue his career path.
The husband who lost his wife in a complicated and messy series of choices and events. He is living one day and then the next. He is loving his children fiercely. He is facing tomorrow because he has breath and reason. He is strong. He is broken. He is being molded and it is beautiful and it is... messy.
The wife loving her husband through Parkinson's and advanced Alzheimers as his primary caretaker. She finds solace and comfort in her gardens and her spunky pup. Her husband remembers and adore her still, most of the time. Every day is impossible but she will face tomorrow.
The girl who was hit by a car while riding her scooter to work. Her face bears the bruises and cuts but she miraculously is mostly unharmed and she has a new determination to face tomorrow... with a helmet on.
The sister who lost a beloved brother. How does one survive this kind of pain?
The woman who lost her home, her place of refuge, to the hungry mouth of a raging wildfire. Yesterday (a couple months ago), on her knees, sobbing, asking why, clutching to the memories. Today, making plans to rebuild once again. Hiring a master artist to carve a bear into the skeleton of one of her scorched pine trees. Beauty from ashes.
A neighborhood devastated by fire and water coming together to rebuild. Moving dirt, rocks, sharing tools, giving time, helping where help is needed. More water will probably come - fire may come again one day, too - but no one is alone in all of it.
The wife watching her husband battle pain all day, every day, for years. Holding his hand, but more importantly, holding his heart always and forever in her own. The love these two have for one another brings me to tears. It is profound and it is painful. Through their pain they give constantly to others. Tomorrow will come and they will rise, together, and face it.
The best friend who just had another surgery and is unable to take the pain killers to ease the healing process. Life has thrown garbage at her time and again, but she wakes up, cries her tears in every shower and her smile is the richest and truest of anyone I have ever known. She will face tomorrow on her knees, with trembling in her heart and absolute trust in her maker.
The little girl who came flying off a bucking horse and determined that she would get back on.
The woman who has dedicated 20 years of her life to working faithfully the job that was put before her. She has grown as a person and as an employee. She has become successful in ways that she never envisioned or planned, but simply because she has always done it well. All of it. The stuff of life. Her job teeters on the edge of failure or success... she waits and she shows up to tomorrow to do what is set before her.
There is more, but it's too much. The resilience of humanity is absolutely remarkable. We need each other. And in so many ways, we must find the strength and resolve in ourselves. It's not found in being remarkable. It's found in living, in facing tomorrow, in doing the impossible because we have to. It's found through our weakness. The tiny things in life become profoundly special.
Personal notes on my coffee cup on a cold Thursday morning.
The dog that loves fiercely in spite of herself (she's not nice) and the boy that adores her.
A faithful friend.