In between channels (that would be something on Animal Planet or Disney Channel), I saw part of the story of the evacuation of Dunkirk. In one of Winston Churchill’s speeches, he said, “Never, never, never give up” and when he asked the British people to help evacuate British and French soldiers from Dunkirk, ahead of a German onslaught, they didn’t give up and responded with all their hearts. A total of 900 ships large and small evacuated 338,226 men (including 120,000 French soldiers) over a few days in May 1940 in what came to be known as the “miracle of Dunkirk”.
Since my parents were in England during the war, I heard lots of stories of how the British people never gave up. I also know that when, in a three month period between September and December 1955, my 15 year old brother died and our house burned to the ground two days before my sixth birthday, they didn’t give up and didn’t complain about the challenges they faced. Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” and perhaps his words continued to resonate in their lives. I know that my parent’s words will stay with me forever.
After the war, my parents emigrated to this country and landed at Ellis Island with the equivalent of about $100.00 and the belongings that they could bring with them on the boat. They struggled and faced as many failures as successes in their lives, but they never gave up and I don’t ever remember hearing them complain. Life was a gift to them.
We face challenges globally, regionally, nationally and in our own lives and we need to “face” them, not run from them or ignore them in hopes that they will go away or that someone else will solve them. If your challenge is weight loss, then face it and solve it. If it is a motivation challenge, then face it and solve it. If it is a financial challenge, then face it and solve it. How? Think about the challenge of evacuating a third of a million soldiers by water off of a beach. Can’t grasp that, then think of the parable of how the old mule who fell in the well overcame his challenge.
The parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what had happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Continued….
Whatever your challenge, step up and shake it off and don’t give up. And, when you think you can’t do it, as it says at the end of that article, “Amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.