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Daily Prompt: Silver Linings

Extreme bad times give birth to silver linings.  Disasters and tragedy can bring out the best in people.  Right now we think of those in Oklahoma who are suffering with the ugly effects of tornadoes.  They need to see beyond their present circumstances and know that there will be a silver lining, or they might give up hope.  It makes those of us who are not touched by those tragedies to give gratefully to help those in need.

Blogging friend Darla Welchel posted this picture on FB

Blogging friend Darla Welchel posted this picture on FB of her property in OK.

People in tragic times:

  • draw together to help each other,
  • demonstrate supernatural strength
  • alter the world – moving, building anew, seek solutions to prevent the same problems from recurring.
  • develop empathy
  • develop personal flexibility and resilience
  • break down cultural barriers

The bigger the tragedy, the shinier the silver lining needs to be.  I’m not sure it always makes up for the tragedy, but people go on.  The choice is either you go on or you don’t.  The choice is yours.  I am reading non-fiction book, The Worst Hard Times by Timothy Egan, about the people who stayed in the Dust Bowl states when over 300,000 fled to California alone.  According to him, the high plains never fully recovered, although much of it being returned to its original grass covering.  Farmers now have connected with soil conservation districts to manage the land as a single ecological unit.  Some of the individuals he followed lived to be around 100 years old.

Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas at a different time in history.

Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas at a different time in history.

The biggest tragedy I can think of was the Holocaust.  Had I been born in Nazi Germany at that time, I would not have survived it even though I was a blond, blue-eyed, non-Jewish child because I was born with a harelip.

Me, Great-Grandma Martha, Grandma Golda, and Mom Peggy.

Me, Great-Grandma Martha, Grandma Golda, and Mom Peggy.  I think they would have been upset to lose me over a simple lip disaster!  🙂  

There were many that were targeted for destruction during that period of history.  The most tragic of the tragic were the Jews who were destroyed simply because they were Jews.  My friend was four years old when they came to her little town in Poland.  Nazi “punks” killed her mother and grandparents before they even left town because they were old or infirm.  “Why waste time getting them well if they were targeted for extermination anyway?” my friend tells students.  Two of her uncles were caught trying to smuggle valuables in a loaf of bread.  They were shot when the loaf of bread broke on the cobblestones revealing trinkets of jewelry.  The rest of her family:  father, aunt, 2 brothers, and a sister, went to the camps, different ones, of course.  Her sister died in Auschwitz, and the rest survived, and came to America.  Now in her late seventies, my friend tells her story in schools to let children today know that there is hope, a silver lining in any situation.

Students see that my friend survived the worst horror they can imagine.  Life has a silver lining.

Students see that my friend survived a horror worse than any they can imagine. Life has a silver lining.

Children don’t have the background experiences to know that they can live through tough times.  We don’t always know what internal and external disasters they harbor and endure.

My friend's intensity speaks to students, and helps them believe in a silver lining.

My friend’s intensity speaks to students, and helps them believe in a silver lining.

Some students don’t know that if a kid teases them or brutalizes them, it will pass, or they can find ways to deal with it besides shooting up a school.  Children whose parents beat them, or do drugs or alcohol may not realize they can survive even if they are taken to a foster home and are raped their first night there.  My friend gives them hope.  Through her life, they see the silver lining.

We don't know who might be the next Oklahoma City bomber.  We need to teach them ALL that there is a silver lining beyond their personal tragedy.

We don’t know who might be the next Oklahoma City bomber. We need to teach them ALL that there is a silver lining beyond their personal tragedy.

Silver linings don’t make everything all right.  There are still consequences that follow any disaster.  My friend does not know what her mother looks like.  She has never even seen a picture.  They were all destroyed.  It still makes her sad.  She goes into an emotional tailspin every time a disaster hits anywhere and flashes back to her times in the camps.  Nonetheless, she lives another day and shows others that they, too, can survive.  She was married and raised two successful children.  She worked in the entertainment industry until she retired. She took a 90 minute yoga class with her friend and me the day after she spoke in this class.  She impacts thousands of young lives yearly.  She impacted my life permanently.  She lives in the silver lining of her life.

Any of life's tragedies has a silver lining.

Any of life’s tragedies has a silver lining.

Do you need to know there is a silver lining behind your cloud?  Do you have a silver lining experience to tell?

28 replies »

    • Yes, I think that is part of what I do, too. Sometimes I lack empathy otherwise. I even lack it sometimes when I have gone through it. Or I get too sympathetic. 🙂

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  1. This is why I read blogs. Finding posts like this is very rewarding. I lived in Germany for 5 years in the 80s and occasionally spoke to older people about the war. Their grief and understanding of the history of that period were profound. They knew with hindsight just how dreadful the Nazis had been. I introduced my late father to a friend’s father – Matthi Z. They had fought on opposite sides in WW2, my father in the navy and Matthi, I think in the Luftwaffe. They talked through me as a translator and found much in common and neither side bore hatred. Silver linings are rare and to be treasured. The best image by a long way is the shot of the young man listening totally caught up in your friends lecture, as so he should be. Powerful stuff. There is much to be said for Jaw Jaw not War War.

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    • Thank you so much Andrew. This is a powerful comment. Another of my friend’s son married a German woman. Her parents were so affected by the war. For them, it seems, there was no silver lining, and like the Southerners in the States and the War of Northern Agression, these Germans still blame the Jews somewhat for their problems, from what I can gather. I haven’t met them, just heard tidbits of conversations. It isn’t something we discuss.

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  2. It’s hard to think of silver linings when you’re in the middle of a disaster, I’m sure, yet you’re right that many people do rise above and find these silver linings. I think it has to do with a resilience of spirit; some people seem to have this and others seem to give up. Great post, Marsha! 🙂

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    • I agree. I have known both kinds of people. Some people seem to let the littlest things get them down. Some people rise to the occasion long enough to do what needs to be done, then fall apart! 🙂

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  3. Thanks so much Marsha for posting about us Okies and other affected by tragedies – natural and otherwise. You are so right about looking for the silver lining. My daughter’s (Sarah) house in Mustang, OK sustained a lot of damage when a very large tree was uprooted and crashed on top of their two story home. The silver lining in this is that they are ALL OKAY! Also, they needed new siding and last week’s hail storm damaged their roof, but the insurance adjuster said it was okay. They couldn’t afford to do all this AND put in a storm seller. Now, they will get their roof, siding and other stuff as the tree took out their garage and an upstairs bath and bedroom which caused water damage in their kitchen and dining room. They will probably be able to put in the shelter now as well when they add their savings to the mix. Although their family of six will be displaced for a while, it could have been so much worse – my son-n-law drove through the storms to get home but couldn’t make it to the shelter – he rode it out in the closet. He is safe! We’ve been over their all day helping pack up parts of their house that will be under construction – so much more to do.
    Marsha, the image you posted from my blog is actually my neighbors yard to the south of me, my yard was so much worse! 🙂
    Thank you for your constant support and prayers!

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  4. Fantastic post!!!
    Silvering lining for me is everything that makes my everyday special … the beautiful weather, to be able to enjoy my dinner in the evening sun on the balcony – the beautiful flowers and greenery in my towns … unexpected visit of a friend …. a nice smile from somebody … to wake up in the morning without pain in my feet and the red sunset.

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  5. Can you go to your widgets and add a metta/rss tag so I can have you on my reader PLEASE

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    • Hi Eunice! Long time no see – except on FB! How are you? Are you unsnowy yet? I would be glad to do that if you tell me how. Do I just drag the RSS one over to my sidebar? Do I need to add something to it? I’ll check it out right now! 🙂

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      • I believe that is how I added mine when I started blogging lol

        When my reader went down so did all of you kinda weird but so I had to click Follow on each and everyone again but I am still HUNTING for lost souls and so many stopped blogging 😦

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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