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If it Doesn’t Kill You, It Makes You Stronger

March 22, 2013

Edvard MunchThe Scream

Edvard Munch
The Scream

It was an attempt to reconnect. After so many near misses, so many lost hours and minutes, days and years,  so much confusion and chaos, it was one more try. One more chance. One more opportunity to try to undo the damage.  I wasn’t optimistic.

I’m not one to give up hope easily so when I received two free nights at a Marriott for some work I had done, I booked them in a hotel in Jersey not far from our old stomping grounds across the border.  We had been talking about going back to revisit the place where it all began.  Mired in problems, a fitful economy, grief and exhaustion from my parent’s last years, kids in college, and the usual midlife hullabaloo, we rarely took vacations or even small breaks. It was late September when we packed up the rental car and headed up the northeast corridor looking for the life we once shared.

As we sat in traffic around D.C., we couldn’t help but reminisce about our trip to the CBA Convention shortly after we were married.  It was a business trip for me. Scott had been invited to come along by my boss,  Marvin, who had been  privy to our romance, engagement and wedding. He was a softhearted man and seemed to delight in all.  He and his wife had five children in six years and their marriage was very much a partnership, like ours and were very  much apart of our life. They became my first-born son’s God parents.

Conventions with Marvin were always a blast.  He shook off the serious facade he wore at the office and brought out his dry sense of humor and slightly outrageous inclinations. He reminded me of Bob Newhart, both in looks and demeanor, but putting two and two together from occasional veiled comments he made, he was something of a  hell-raiser back in the day.  Most of the time he lived like he was doing penance for some unknown sin, but once outside the door, so to speak,  he let his “freak flag fly” and we had a blast.

I remember the exact moment he let loose for the first time. It was on that same trip. Scott was driving and as we were trying to find the hotel, we got lost. We ended up in a part of town that felt more than a little uncomfortable to three very white middle class folk.  I wondered out loud, as I was frantically trying to read the map, if we should stop and ask for directions. Next thing we knew, Marvin, was hanging out the back window shouting at each person he passed, “Hey Bro! How’s it goin’!”  It was the 1980’s and people weren’t so open-minded then as they are now. We were simultaneously horrified and hysterical but got out of there as fast as we could.

God I loved that man. He was the sweetest, most loving, gentle man I’d ever met.  Quiet, (except on business trips), he was gentle and kind, a truth seeker like me. His wife’s temperament was the complete opposite. Sally was loud, boisterous and fun. She had a different kind of heart of gold.  They loved our kids like they loved their own. They loved family, life and each other and didn’t deserve to lose their first-born son in a plane crash when he was only twenty. They didn’t laugh much after that.

Many of us carry a tragedy of some sort in our hearts. Too often it is carried behind a veil of normalcy we place over it. We’re dying inside, but we don’t let on. What would be the point? Much of it can’t be undone. But, I, for one, struggle to find some meaning and purpose to senseless and painful experiences. I want to find a way to forgive people when they are cruel and life when it doesn’t seem to care.  I think that’s what I was trying to do when I booked the room in Jersey. I wanted to find a way to make sense of a life that had run amuck.

I don’t yet know if it’s possible to find meaning in every tragedy and broken heart, but today my motto is, “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”

Dorothy Sander © 2013

Previous Posts:

Day 1: Pain is Pain, There is No Judgement

Day 2: Symbolism in a Linear World

Day 3: Here’s to the Survival of Truth Tellers

Day 4: Today Is a New Day

3 Comments leave one →
  1. nancy lendved permalink
    March 22, 2013 7:12 pm

    Dorothy, I hope you find every ounce of strength you need. Today and always.


  1. Silence Need Not Be Our Enemy | Aging Abundantly | Women Over Fifty | Empty Nesters | Caregivers | Aging Gracefully

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