Ever heard a saying or phrase or thought that just sticks? That is unforgettable and never leaves your memory? I'm always amazed by those who can quote lines from movies like it's part of their everyday vocabulary . . . as if in preschool, they learned their a, b, c's as well as "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." (If you don't know that reference, let me enlighten you . . . The Godfather.) I'm sure that comes in handy on the toddler playground.
It was 1994 and I was training to travel overseas for the very first time. I was only 15 but hungry to travel to Romania. The Berlin Wall had fallen only a short five years previously so it opened the door for many opportunities. There were weeks of learning the language, culture, travel details, and a variety of other important facts but one sentence, one saying stuck. Like a pesky rash that keeps coming back . . . but in a good way. LOL!
The instructor who had traveled much more than the small group of teenagers in the room shared that when things got tough on the trip, we should say, "It can't get tough enough for me to complain." I've said that phrase countless times over the last two decades. And not just when traveling but in life situations here at home.
Perspective is EVERYTHING! It alters how you see every single situation and person you encounter. It shapes your thoughts and ultimately your character.
The picture above is from Guatemala 2013. I traveled with Soles 4 Souls which distributes shoes to those in need all over the world. I was honored to document their work and this day we found ourselves at the dump. To those who have never set foot in this setting . . . never seen it with your own eyes . . . never smelled the pungent odor, it is an experience of beautiful brokenness.
I don't think we were created to live in filth, among what others throw away because it's dirty, old or rotten. We are worth so much more. But there are communities all over the world that not only work in landfills but also live in them. The people I met worked daily to find treasures to not only survive on but also sell as a means of income for themselves and their family.
These individuals are no less important because of where they live. No less valuable because of their work. No less beautiful because of what they wore. No less unique because of their circumstances.
But this experience and many like it, have helped me to remember that when I'm having a bad day or waiting for a diagnosis or paying endless bills or feeling sorry for myself . . . I need to remember to say, "it can't get tough enough for me to complain." I'm not sifting through trash to make ends meet. I have a roof over my head. A family to love. Food to eat. If my friends all over the world can face another day so can I. I'm a fighter and choose to not let my circumstances or the media or others define me.
How tough are YOU?