Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms—
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Take a moment and think where you were one year ago, five years ago, or ten if you can remember that far back. I hope you’ve experienced some good things. I hope that you have learned since that day. Because otherwise what would be the point?
I know that there has been joy, I know that you have been sad. I also know that all that has happened to you has made you change. Look back and grab those pivotal moments and see how they have made you into someone new. Someone better not bitter.
Do you know yourself more than you used to? Are you becoming more accustomed to your frailties and imperfections? Do you celebrate what you can offer to others?
Are you able to embrace each new happening as a reason to dig a little deeper and see what you are made of? And although each event refines you, it is our choice whether it will define you.
Catastrophe will happen, you will see suffering, you will lose your job, your marriage, your mother, your house. In our sad city right now, someone has tragically lost their child. When grieving diminishes, what will this family choose? Our hardest journey, the most important journey we encounter, is the one we have to do on our own.
But for everything that we lose, what can we retain? Our humanity, our dignity, our choice of free will, our community of loved ones, our pride, our love, our hope.