I’ve done my fair share of research on those who have gone through difficult situations, while also having my taste of unpleasantries (though I would be absurd to think my experiences compare with that of a Holocaust Survivor), and I’ve seen a resounding theme emanates through even the darkest of stories. It is the idea of hope. Hope for something better; freedom from bondage, physical healing, a better life, or a future where one can be free from chains and despair.
On several occasions, I have heard from those who survived, firsthand, concentration camps at the hands of Nazi captors. Many thoughts were spurred simply by looking at their tattooed skin; the physical proof that at some point in history, another human being viewed them as less-than-human. Several of these people stated they stayed alive because they fought for for it, spending every day simply fighting and making it a challenge to stay alive. One would have to ask why they fought? Simply living to spite guards is not necessarily a complete reason. However, when they tell you that it was for the hope of one day walking again as free individuals, you begin to appreciate and understand the gravity and value of hope.
I’ve met many survivors who have told me the biggest moment of their life was when they decided they wanted to step in the ring and fight cancer. It is bittersweet to hear this, as my Father lost his fight against cancer. That, in and of itself, is a complete other situation. It’s often this hope that grants others the strength to fight through the roughest of days, circumstances, and physical pain.
One of my favorite Mohamed Ali quotes is: “I hated every day of training. But I said “Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.””
This wasn’t the best of months for me. I’ve taken a few heavy blows that nearly sent me reeling. But I knew it wasn’t time to quit or throw in the towel (assuming there’s even the ability to do so). And yet, with the darkest of days behind me, I have been given a fresh shot of hope for the short-term and I’m encouraged to step back into the ring and fight anew. October 1st, it’s going down.