January 05, 2010

The Face of Adversity

Last year was difficult for many, if not for most. Whatever has happened that shouldn’t have; whatever didn’t happen that should have; in whatever position you found yourself, prostrate and disquieted; whatever occurred, the trials of last year should not lead us into morbid depression. I do not suggest that a manly approach to adversity is to smile in its face, for if it is not a genuine smile I for one do not want to see it. Let us reserve that facial configuration for things that make us happy. Instead, I suggest that a manly approach is to set one’s jaw and meet the trials with grim determination. You have been knocked down; getting up and staying up will be all the more to your credit, not to mention your sense of satisfaction.

I will not bore you with my own trials, for harping on about hardship defines boring. I will not feed you platitudes about how hope was left in the jar (whichever way you see Hesiod’s myth about Pandora, I’m not convinced that hope is good for anything). Hope has no material effect, and leaves alive the prospect of hopes dashed. I will not tell of comforts found in superstitions; nor will I seek sympathy or, heaven forefend, pity. Suffice to say that the trials have been many and that they have been borne with difficulty. But they have been borne with the foreknowledge that they could be met. There are, in hard times, no substitutes for hard work, indefatigability, industry, creativity, and a determined idea of what the outcome will be.

Wherever we fall short, we stand tall. Wherever we are unexpectedly turned in the road, we find a new route. If injured, we mend. We do not mope into our milk, or trudge morosely into the wind. If you see the face of Adversity, slap it with all your might and march over its body. I do not advocate an abnegation of tenderness, for it has its place of importance in any manly life. Yet I doubt that your emotions will be up to scratch if you are soundly beaten down by circumstance. Lest it should be construed that I hereby advocate a positive attitude, I state clearly: I advocate defiance.


  1. Doctor,

    You reminded me of Churchill's Second World War.

    Moral of the work:


  2. Just what I needed today....my defiance is on the rise!Many thanks.


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