Thou wert created to bear and endure, O Patience of the worlds. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Fire Tablet, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 317)
Remember My days during thy days, and My distress and banishment in this remote prison. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Tablet of Ahmad, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 210)
Have hope. It will not always be so. (Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Message 2015)
As we were entering into our 4th (this time semi) lockdown, with the rapid spread of the Omicron virus, I began to despair. Not this again, I thought. I can’t bear it. But of course, I can, and I must and I will.
I was contemplating these three quotes and trying to elevate my thoughts and overcome my despair, when I came across the following perspective from a someone on Facebook. I’m not sure how it popped up on my feed, as I don’t know him, and don’t have any mutual friends, so I can only believe it was the hand of God, trying to reassure me.
For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.
When you’re 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet.
When you’re 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills six million. At 52, the Korean War starts and five million perish.
At 64 the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn’t end for many years. Four million people die in that conflict. Approaching your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could well have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.
As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? A kid in 1985 didn’t think their 85 year old grandparent understood how hard school was. Yet those grandparents (and now great grandparents) survived through everything listed above.
Perspective is an amazing art. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through this. In the history of the world, there has never been a storm that lasted. This too, shall pass.
It gave me such hope, that I posted it on my own Facebook page, and my cousin reminded me that our grandmother had been born in 1900 and moved on a horse-drawn covered wagon from Nebraska to Edmonton, in western Canada with her family, for the free land grants. Not only did she endure every one of the calamities above, but her entire world also changed in that move. Could I withstand so many ordeals? I really doubt it! Leaving my “severe mental tests” from childhood trauma aside, all I have to deal with is “stay home to stay safe”. It seems like such a small thing, in comparison with everything she suffered.
I have a hard time relating to Bahá’u’lláh’s suffering, but I can certainly understand my grandmother’s. If she can do it, it’s in my DNA and I can too.
Knowing I have resilience built into my DNA, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you when you read this passage? Please share your thoughts below.
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