The Monthly Lead is a collection of Stories, Articles, Polls, & Interviews from our Sundown United Senior Staff. The Lead, from across America to Korea, spotlights community in all its different shapes and beautiful varieties in a monthly theme that is discussed, debated, and decided amongst our fans and SDU staff. A Lead to inspiration. Welcome to August Theme – ENDURANCE
Introduction By Nathan Klayman – Lead Contributor // Dallas
I’ve never considered myself an especially strong person. This is not to say that I consider myself weak, but rather, I’ve never thought of myself
as exceptional, strength-wise – physically, mentally, emotionally, whatever. Rather, I’ve always seen myself as someone neither stronger nor weaker
than the next person. Perhaps a little smarter, and it’s to those smarts that I’ve typically appealed, when faced with challenge – to have the wit
and the wisdom at the right time.
It’s Tuesday afternoon; work has concluded, and I’m driving home. I’m doing my usual thing – navigate the rush hour traffic, sing along badly with
the radio, when the phone rings. A quick glance down at the screen tells me that it’s Mom; nothing too unusual there. However, her words, after I
picked up, were pretty unusual: She’d been given the all-clear from her doctors. No more chemotherapy was needed. The cancer was beaten back, and
she could now begin the long road to recovery.
I didn’t know what to say; naturally, I was happy – this was momentous, exhilarating news, and yet, with it…guilt. As I listened to her talk on,
thanking me, and everyone that had been there for her, the guilt intensified. Finally, I found my voice, and told her:
Mom – this is some of the greatest news possible. But I didn’t really do anything special, at least, not that I can see. Of course I called you.
Of course I came to see you, and of course I brought you things that I thought you would like, or would cheer you. You’re my mother – why wouldn’t
I do these things?
This good news? This is all you, not me. In all honesty, if this had been reversed, I don’t think that I would have had the same strength. The same
persistence. The same enduring will to survive. I would have given up, I think. I am not you. You flatter me, and greatly – but this? This is all you.
She was silent for a moment, and then said: For someone so smart, you sure miss the obvious, sometimes. A person’s strength, and fortitude, like all
personal qualities, do come from within; you are correct there. But that same strength is nurtured, and built upon, by that of those around them. So,
in that sense, you’re wrong. Part of my strength was yours – your will to hope, and to believe.
I drove on for a minute or two, neither of us saying anything; Mom finally broke the silence with questions about property taxes, and health concerns
about her cats. That’s my mother for you – one minute, seriously heavy wisdom, and left-field small talk the next. Being neither tax expert nor veterinarian,
I did my best to answer, while I processed, and pondered on all that had been said: all that had been, and all that was still to come.
I know of course, that this victory does not necessarily mean forever, or that the days and months ahead will be free of challenge. I know that. There will be other, new challenges and hurdles to face, and to clear. I don’t know what those will be, yet, much less how to handle them. I do know this, however:
Next time, I’ll not only ask for the wit and the wisdom to understand and face them, but the strength and will to endure them, too.