Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 14, 2012

JACKIE DAVIS: Emerging stronger after adversity

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — We are a nation of over-comers. Throughout our history, there have been battles fought and victories won. From British rule to the Declaration of Independence, from slavery to freedom, from oppression to suffrage, from immigrants to entrepreneurs—ours is a history comprised of people emerging stronger after adversity. 

This week, America paused to acknowledge the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. In solemnity of the ceremony, President Obama declared:

“… Our nation has emerged stronger, safer and more resilient … 

“As painful as this day is and always will be … No single event can ever destroy who we are, no act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for … We recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.”

As we saw the new world trade tower rising victoriously behind the memorial in New York, I appreciated the recognition of pain in the remembrance of that fateful day. It somehow gave permission to mourn in the midst of honoring those whose lives were lost. 

Knowing that adversity or hardships will come doesn’t make it less painful when it occurs. Whenever we or those we know and love are faced with an injustice, or a loss, we are also faced with a choice: We can allow the pain of the situation to consume us, destroy us and make us bitter, or we go through the valley of suffering with God’s help, and emerge stronger, wiser, and more experienced, having developed the character, endurance and understanding that only comes through overcoming adversity.

Last Sunday saw the return of Payton Manning, one of the NFL’s most outstanding quarterbacks, after a year of not playing. I rejoiced in seeing the remarkable performance of this amazing player. After eleven straight winning seasons, a Super Bowl win, and more Most Valuable Player awards than any other player in history, I would have never dreamed that Payton Manning would have ever been cut by his former team because of injuries.

Where was the loyalty? Where was the respect? I am inspired by Payton Manning’s heroic comeback and his honorable conduct, and I sincerely wish him a wonderful season.

Perhaps, even more inspiring, are the everyday heroes, that dwell among us. I recently spoke with Linda, about her new job with a local art gallery. She looked twenty years younger, and one hundred times happier than I had ever seen her. It wasn’t until she thanked the audience for their love and support that I remembered that she had recently overcome adversity. 

After 38 years of service, and only 6 months until retirement, Linda was fired from her job without any warning. “I was totally stunned”, she said. “But, as painful as it was, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.” Linda was overwhelmed by the great number of people who spoke from their hearts, encouraged her and thanked her for touching their lives in her previous position. She is truly grateful for the outpouring of love and appreciation. Linda believes that, sometimes, “the Lord asks us to go through things — that we don’t always agree with, to bring us to the next level of our life journey.”

At 65 years young, Linda said her new career gives her a way to use her skills “in a positive way in a wonderful atmosphere.”

People like Linda can give us hope that we too can emerge stronger after adversity.

Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with more than twenty years of television broadcast experience. You can contact her at jjd.22344@yahoo.com.