In the Middle of winter
One of my most favorite quotes by the author and philosopher Albert Camus represents the kind of resilience that one needs to show and does end up showing in the face of hardship. The quote runs like this: In the middle of winter, I at last discovered there was within me, an invincible summer.
The truth of the matter is that we sometimes never discover that wellspring of happiness and strength within us, until we are faced with winter – which in this metaphor represents hardship, loneliness and difficulty. We think ourselves absolutely unable to deal with the world without our props – the comfort of those we love and depend on, the necessities that we’ve come to think essential, and the bolster from familiar environments and routines. But all these are mere show – and they may be stripped from us at any moment. And what we do then represents our true self – our true ability to withstand even in the face of the severest loss.
That loss may come at any time – the death or desertion of a loved one, losing a much needed job, the bottom falling out of an investment. But in times of hardship, we can look inside ourselves and see that invincible summer that Camus talked about and depend only on that to keep us going. And it is possible, however difficult it may seem in the beginning, simply because the human ability to withstand things is amazing. Whether you think you can or not, you probably will be able to go on, especially so, if you make it a priority to rely only on yourself. Independence is its own reward and it feeds on itself. Until eventually, your internal summer will shine out and melt even the winter around you.