By: Daniella Aryeh, Guest Blogger
The day after my brother’s wedding a few weeks ago, I was at a family gathering at my grandparents’ house. I started talking to my sister-in-law’s grandfather, who is one of the cutest and most incredible men I know. Let me tell you a little bit about him. He currently lives in Florida, but was born in Europe, and when he was a child, he went through the Holocaust. He lived through an abundance of torture in different concentration camps as well as working in a bitter cold that none of us can even imagine in Siberia. He survived, but lost most of his family.
His ninetieth birthday was approaching, and he was in incredible spirits, especially considering what he went through. He was sitting there smiling and talking to my very large, loud, and entertaining family.
When I went over to him, I asked him how he’s fairing in New York with the weather (being that it was a very cold winter night). I knew what he went through, but I could assume it’s still not easy for a man of his age to come from the warmth of Florida to the cold New York winter. He just looked at me and said, “You know, I’ve been through a lot. Some years were good, others better. And now we are here, and we just celebrated a wedding.”
That stopped me in my tracks. If it were me, I would have said, “some years were truly hell, while others were great.” And with all that he has been through, I think he has every right to say that since he legitimately has been through hell and back. I wouldn’t have flinched if he had said that. But no. He had a different view on things. In his eyes, every year he lived was a good one. Just some were better than others.
What he said really resonated with me. In my last blog, I discussed how I was going through a tough time and how inspiration was just lost on me because of it. And I am not diminishing what I’ve been through, and I am not saying that people don’t struggle.
I remember saying to my mom once that you can’t compare the struggles of any two people. Each person’s hardships are individual. What is hard for one person may not be difficult for another. It is individual to every specific person. And I am not diminishing that.
I still believe that everyone struggles. It is a part of life. But to me, it’s nice to have a different perspective. If my sister-in-law’s grandfather is able to look back on his life and call his hardest years “the good years” of his life, then I can too. I know that I’m going to face difficult times in my life. But now I have a phrase that will help me see the beauty in my struggles.
Just know that while struggle and hardship is a part of life, we will still come out the other side stronger. It is those difficult times that show us who we are and what we are made of. Even during our most difficult times, even if we may be going through our own version hell, we still have the power to see the beauty in the darkness.
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I am in the process of completing my master’s degree in speech-language pathology. I love traveling, meeting new people, hanging on the beach, and will read anything I can get my hands on. I am obsessed with country music, and I constantly quoting Friends and One Tree Hill.