There’s an American proverb that states “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Of course, the flip side to that is “when the going gets tough, give up.” I’ve also heard a few other options of this proverb like “when the going gets tough, run away” and “when the going gets tough, you better get going” or “when the going gets tough, delegate,” and of course “when the going gets tough, the tough go (insert action here, such as shopping).” The parodies are endless. So are the comics. But if you are interested in that, there is always Google.
But when the going does indeed get tough, what exactly are we to do? Get tough and get going? Give up? Run away? Delegate? Go shopping? And who defines what “going” is tough? What adversities does one have to go through before one can say they are hardships enough to be tough? After all, what may be tough for one person may be a piece of cake for another. No one owns traumas. No one owns hardships. No one owns tough goings. No one has a say in what might be a hardship for another, even if it is something they have dealt with.
“But like your daddy said… The same sun that melts the wax can harden clay… And the same rain that drowns the rat will grow the hay… And the mighty wind that knocks us down… If we lean into it … Will drive our fears away”~ Amy Grant “How Can We See That Far?”
Almost five years ago, my other half dealt with sepsis from an infection following a routine surgery. It was a harrowing experience for us both, made worse by the fact that it happened over Christmas that year. When the going got tough, we managed to survive some tough stuff with the help of some tough friends and family members and a tough will of our own. But not everyone is able to “get going” following such a medical crisis. Some are left with life-long conditions as a result of their traumas. Others don’t survive at all. Were they not tough enough?
Katrina Kenison wrote a reflection in her blog on 20 April 2015 titled “When the Going Gets Tough…..” What resonated with me the most was this passage:
Perhaps that’s why I have written the Portal Seeker the way that I did in my Portals Series. After all, Solilune of Delphian has learned to not only take on the mantle of the Portal Seeker, but by the end of his story, he will learn to embrace it. He is tough enough to get going when the going gets tough. But I am not going to give away any more spoilers, lest people wish to read about him and the rest of the characters I have made up, of course.
But Soli is a reflection of what I wish I were more of. I wish I had the knowledge to embrace the traumas of others and understand them more. I wish I could get going into the fray and knuckle down in the face of adversity more often. I wish I had the courage to change myself today, as one of my more favorite of P!nk’s songs state. I wish I could be the person Katrina Kenison wishes for herself and the world. I wish that the tough I face doesn’t harden me to the world, but yet better humbles me that I may help others when they face the same traumas.
Perhaps, one day, I may be that person. Until then, when the going gets tough, may I strive to keep going and keep changing for the better.
And with that I will ask you, my dear friends, a question.
When the going gets tough, who will you be? Are you going to be judgmental, mincing words and spouting hate and division? Are you going to run away, never facing your fears and the hardships? Or are you going to be welcoming and loving, buckling down to ride out the storm but yet coming out softer and more understanding of what others endure?
May you too have the courage to change and decide what that may be. Until then, keep writing your story, stay magical, and enjoy the moments, no matter how tough they are.
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