Nick Wilford's Overcoming Adversity blogfest. It's an amazing fest for an awesome cause!
As I thought about what to post, I realized I've encountered people with some incredibly powerful stories over the years, and I wanted to share a little about what that's meant for me. Enjoy!
In fiction, it’s so easy to get caught up in larger-than-life characters and fate-of-the-world stakes that we often overlook the everyday heroes. But they’re there. All around us—on the page and in life.
They make us believe it’s still possible to create a real difference for someone. To get back on our feet, continue the fight and change people’s lives, even in the smallest of ways. I’ve been blessed and privileged to witness so many examples of those who have overcome adversity. In a few cases, I’ve even talked at length with these heroes, to capture their stories as best I could, and though they may not know it, they’ve been some of my greatest teachers.
There are a precious handful of interviews so humbling, eloquent and perspective shattering that they reduced me to honest-to-God tears of awe. Those are the ones that haunt the back of your mind long after the articles are written and published. The mother whose pride and gratitude for her young Marine son, killed in action, flowed through the phone line with the poignancy of a flag-draped coffin. The man who struggled to teach himself to breath and speak again after a devastating stroke; who believed, not in worrying over whether life’s glass was half full or half empty, but in simply offering thanks that we’re given the glass in the first place.
It is the very best part of my job. A reminder that a writer’s words can still give voice to those with stories worth telling. Stories that seem to make you a better, wiser person just for having read them or heard about them. They offer a window into someone else’s extraordinary life experience and reveal to each of us what we hope is the core essence of our humanity—the genuine, heartrending struggles from which quiet, steady and unassuming heroes arise like fledgling phoenixes.
Let us never lose sight of that.