Lessons I learned in tough times
May 9, 2014
While reading May 8th editorial “Bermuda's two stages of loss” a memory surfaced. Back in 1978 I recall facing the prospect of financial hardship which may have impacted on my family and children. I shared my worries with my most venerated guide. This guide was a multi-millionaire with wealth beyond my imagination. He didn't reach into his pocket instead he offered me some wisdom. Guess what he said? “A little suffering will do your children and family good”. I guess the question is whether or not I could appreciate the wisdom he offered.
I absorbed it but heck no; I struggled to see the wisdom. Okay, Mr Millionaire, easy enough for you to say with all your million dollar options, but me, I didn't want to see my children suffer so I dug in. I worked harder, I made some sacrifices, I rented my house to a couple of nurses and took a room with my in-laws. My wife and I along with my daughter sharing a bedroom with two sister in-laws while I balanced off my mortgage commitments. I continued to dig in and defied the clock, two jobs, three jobs.
I learned through travel something about immigrant communities in different parts of the globe and how they managed to survive then thrive. I experienced the resilience of the people in places like Senegal and many other countries who have some really poor people, who will find nails and soda bottle caps and create something of value to sell. I spent time in Trinidad and travelled with a lady who sold car parts to dealers. We drove for a whole days at times with no sales but back again the next day eager with enthusiasm.
Have I learned anything? Yes I have, the old millionaire spiritual guide who did not give me a penny was right. The old saying is “when things get tough the tough get going”. Hard times Bermuda, but this is where we get to truly shine. We can't be complacent and wait for the job or cheque that isn't coming. If you are a musician and clubs can't afford to pay, if you like to sing or play then go sing your song, play your heart out. Of course I say that proverbially, but I mean everyone in every aspect of livelihood, trade or profession.
It's not easy, but we will set our sail and go to sea. Depression sets in when you have no plan. Without hope and a dream we die. There are so many possibilities and if we close our eyes in despair we shall never see them. We each must take the position that we can solve the problem, we must believe that the answer is there and open ourselves to find it.