I read yesterday about a young woman who was volunteering in Haiti at the time the earthquake that killed 230,000 hit.
Her name is Christa Brelsford and she struggled under the rubble of the earthquake until her brother, school workers, and a teenager were able to dig her out. She was flown to Miami for treatment, where doctors amputated her right leg four inches below the knee. She endured four additional surgeries but is back again pursuing her passion–rock climbing. (I couldn’t help but think what a great metaphor that makes for turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones in her life!)
Her fiance proposed marriage while she was in the hospital, she has started a non-profit named Christa’s Angels to rebuild the school she was volunteering at prior to the earthquake, and she is back to rock climbing for real. One friend of hers said, “She has a tenacious spirit–and she’s using this opportunity to help.”
What character it takes to do that. To use the opportunities we are blessed with to “help” others AND to help ourselves become better people than we would otherwise have been. I totally believe it’s possible. Christa said, “You don’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond.”
How amazing if all of us, when thrust into trying circumstances beyond our control, could act and think like Christa. That is MY goal and that is what I am trying to teach my children too: to make good choices as we respond to the things that happen, unexpectedly, in life–knowing that if we do that, greater character develops and is refined into something more glorious than it could otherwise have been.
Thanks to a friend and blog reader, Shari, for sharing this brilliant thought on character with me, spoken by an amazing woman who achieved greatness despite the circumstances of a very challenging life: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” (Helen Keller)
SO, thank you 2009 for the many and varied opportunities I was given to better my character. Thanks to all of those who belay me on the cliffs and climbs, then and now.
Go, Helen! Go Christa! Go, all of us! as we travel our paths and ascend our personal cliffs to character and eventual greatness in spite of it all!
Keep looking for the good.
Eventually you’ll reach the summit.
And you won’t BELIEVE the view!