Sunday, May 8, 2011

Toughing It Out

Budapest is populated with survivors. Even the buildings have outlived the ravages of war. Ottomans, Catholics, Protestants, Atheists, Communists and Nazis have competed, confronted, and crusaded, but never crushed this city. As I stood on our hotel balcony, gaping at the panorama perched above the Danube, I realized that this country, colored at that moment by the most fantastic sunset, was more alive and exciting than ever, only because Hungarians know too well how to tough it out.

Back in London, I received a text from a wife who was ready to leave her husband. “HE’S NOT WORTH IT,” she screamed in capital letters. “Ever since I married this terrible man, I have been miserable!”

“Are you saying that every day of your whole marriage has been totally unhappy?” My fingers flew in panic.

“No,” she admitted. “There have been good days and great ones too --” (I waited for the “but”…) “but there have been terrible ones like today!” Then rapidly and back to all capitals: “It’s UP AND DOWN and I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!”

Now I know for a fact that her husband is far from terrible and that she has been far from miserable. There is something about that fifth principle of the gospel: enduring to the end, which the Adversary takes particular exception with. He concentrates his forces on all of us in that stage of development but especially on those who are green in the gospel or in marriage or in parenthood.

While in Budapest, we walked with our personal guide, Peter Polczman. He told us they’d moved all the statues of toppled communist elites to a park where they have no one to preach to but each other. He pointed out what used to be Gestapo Headquarters and is now a museum. He led us down a residential street where old people sit on benches, watching young people hurry by.

“My grandmother,” he said, as we sat on a stone wall (the ruins of some empire or another), “has seen it all.”

“How did she survive?” I had to know.

“She just didn’t get worked up over things.” (I looked surprised.) “She knew everything would pass.”

Determined longevity clearly takes guts. But is it always the kind of guts that ‘screws courage to the sticking place'? Or can it be the kind that bobs, buoy-like, up and down, anchored in place? At fifty-two, I would agree with Peter’s grandmother: most of what we get worked up over is not here to stay. Our womanly days are rarely catastrophic; they just require coping – which, often enough -- is victory

Muse with me: Do you agree?

Beautifully related posts by fellow Musers this week: When in the Depths of the Sea or Enveloped by Fog at Valerie's Attempt at Pondering; We Came Here to FINISH the Race at Smith Family Crazies; Ever have one of "those" days at Domestic Diva Dishes All

For more pictures of Budapest, visit Mona's Musings on Facebook


ldsjaneite said...

It isn't easy. But the happiness and joy when you get through a trial is always worth it. It is always worth continually pressing forward to achieve or reach that happiness--again and again. Whatever it takes.

Domestic Diva said...

I love the spirit of this message. I really related to the image of the grandmother who chose not to get too upset over things and believed that everything would pass. It reminds me that the power to find joy lies in this very moment. I wrote a follow up entry to "Ever had one of those days" called "Here comes the sun". After writing that post, I was reminded of an important lesson about finding happiness amidst a challenging day.

Mom said...

It's the tough times that help you find out what you're made of! I know I gain all kinds of confidence when getting through a struggle, and when the next trial comes along, it's easier to bear it with style.

Valerie said...

Loved your thoughts and the reminder that better days will always come. SO nice of you to include my post in yours. :) I'll have to pop by and read the other ones you linked to also just as soon as I can.

ALB said...

An image that came to mind as I read this was a hike I attempted a few years ago. I was all excited to reach the top of the mountain, but the trail's steep slope (and the swiftness of the group I was with) soon won. Out of breath after a third of the way, I walked back down the slope defeated. I have experienced the same defeated feeling in my life, but it is when I stop to take stock of my situation that I am able refocus on my goal and regain my eternal perspective. By maintaining my focus on Christ, I can reach heights in my life that I never thought possible!

Sara Lyn said...

I have to say "this, too, shall pass" has gotten me through many a difficult moment/day/month/year/.... Now, learning to be cheerful through that? I'm still working on that one. :)

Helen said...

Well, I was going to comment on the previous post, but I think it fits here too...
I think acceptance, of ourselves, other and the situations we find ourselves in is the key to being able to find the joy or richness of life in the moment.
I am finding when I really accept things and people as they are, that is when charity really begins to fill my heart with all its peace and strength and calm and joy.

Sara Lyn said...

I love what Helen said. Thank you, Helen.

John and Laura said...

Enduring is one of the hardest principles because it isn't a 1 or 2 or 3 time thing, with a start and an end. It's continual and patience-trying...