Sometimes life throws us line drives that knock us off our feet. We weren’t even on the playing field and wonder where in the world the ball came from. Once we regain our footing, we wonder how we’re going to survive let alone recover and thrive. We cling to whatever we can to make it through the day.

Some folks don’t recover from a catastrophe. They just don’t have the stamina or desire to continue. Other people see misfortune as an opportunity to dig deep and discover how resilient they are. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. We muddle through troubles. We don’t give up, but we don’t excel either.

This business of life is a funny old thing. Next month, I’ll celebrate another birthday. Sixty-nine will signal the end of a decade. There’s something wonderful about growing old and remembering all the calamities we’ve weathered. We oldsters don’t have to apologize for our opinions or admonitions to the young. We’ve earned the right to share our wisdom. Whether or not they listen is up to them.

Last week I dreamed I was 21. In my dream, I was writing and thinking how great the next 50 years would be. I had lots of time to write lots of stories. Then I awoke. What a disappointment! Although not usually considered catastrophes, birthdays do remind us that time is passing. A new year gives us the opportunity to complete projects we’ve put off until “next year.”

For some, next year will never come. Hopes and dreams will never be realized. Time slips away so quickly, we hardly notice it passing until it’s gone. As I look back at all the years, I wonder how I survived some of them. Easter is a reminder that what was meant for evil turned out for good. Without the death of Christ, there would be no resurrection. Without the heartaches we suffer, there would be no scars to show Jesus. As He did not escape this life without torment, neither will we.

Tzedakah is a Hebrew term meaning “righteousness, fairness, and justice.” It also refers to the religious obligation of charity. In the year following Easter, we have the opportunity to take the catastrophe of the cross and share in Christ’s victory. Our celebration of love and goodwill should last longer than one day.

Whatever evil or tragedy has befallen you, don’t give up. I know it’s hard to face each day when sadness shrouds you like a heavy blanket, but you’re here for a reason. We who survived horrible circumstances have a responsibility to show our loved ones how to shoulder burdens and keep going. That is probably our most precious gift to them as the resurrection was God’s gift to us.

Sharon Kennedy

Sharon M. Kennedy is a freelance writer from Brimley, a small town on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Sharon writes a general interest column for a number of local newspapers. She admits she’s a late blooming “Boomer” and tends to forget that most women her age are enjoying retirement while she’s embarking on a new career. After teaching English Composition at a local university, Sharon turned to her real love. Writing stories that tug at your heartstrings or make you chuckle is her hallmark.