Adversity - Can We Avoid It?

By Stephen C. Schultz

This week has brought some very poignant and sad discussions. A very dear and valued colleague of mine shared with a group of us that her son, who has had some developmental difficulties throughout his young life, was having problems with his sight. She spent time this last weekend at a local Children’s Hospital and they informed her he was going blind because his brain was beginning to atrophy, and that it was terminal. She sat, with tears in her eyes, asking for our emotional support. She said, “I just want to raise him and love him like I’ve done these few short years.”

I received a message today from a long time friend. She stated she was going through a divorce and that the relationship with her husband had deteriorated over the last 20 years. My heart sank and I was saddened not by the fact that she was separating from her husband, because I know she is strong and will be OK,  but by the fact that she has to go through the pain and the process of a divorce. She thanked me for my support and said with a voice filled with emotion, “I hope you don’t think less of me.” I said, “Of course not…my regard for you as a friend is not based on your marital status, it is based on a friendship fostered over time.” While I can offer support, understanding and empathy, I cannot protect her from the pain. That is hers to work through and hers to overcome.

This I do know, after over 25 years of working with families through seemingly unbearable situations, people are resilient. They come through the “refiners fire” stronger and wiser. They are more compassionate and insightful than before the adversity. Inevitably, after we navigate life’s hardships, we look in hindsight and say, “I would not want to go through that again, and I would never wish that hardship on anyone, but I’m grateful for what I have learned and the relationships that have been strengthened throughout this process.”

I have attached a short video that features young people from around the world who have faced their demons at a very early age. These teens have struggled with emotional concerns, substance abuse and even Autism Spectrum Disorder. I hope you find these young people an inspiration.


Barbie said…
I have not read your blog in a long time and for some reason did tonight, and this was the first one that I looked at. At first I cried, and then I smiled. It is nice to have good friends and to know that you care. You are right. I will get through this. As painful as it is, everything is going to be fine.I completely agree with your 3rd paragraph....this is not my first trial. I have actually been through the refiners fire before with the death of my daughter so I do know there is another side and eventually I am going to come out on that side and be o.k.

I love reading your writings. You are very good.
Thanks so much for your kind words Barbie. I know it may not seem like it, but I am a little shy when it comes to compliments. I never know what to say...kinda like the year book signing at the end of the school year...I was never good at that! :)

Please stay in touch. Your courage is inspiring.
judithwelltree said…
A very special place and some very special people. What an life-changing opportunity! Tears and smiles this end, thank you.
Thank you Stephen, the main thing I get from your posts is there is hope, no matter what happens in life. I can imagine so many people have been comforted by your posts.
Thank you so much for the comment Jennifer! I appreciate your kind words of support. I do believe there is always hope...just trying to be helpful!
Anonymous said…
Stephen, it's nice to see someone who regularly post blogs or examples of personal situations that can and do, inspire.
I know you have a connection to Utah. I've lived here for 23 years and have recently seen and experienced severe hardship these last 4-5 years. Like so many, my hardships started as a child which I know is one of the things you focus on.
Can you be contacted for individual sessions or recommend someone in the valley? It's time to seek some help. It's complex and difficult to make the time to talk about it/text about it over social media. I need to talk to someone in person. Any recommendations?

Thanks so much, Stephen.

Mark O'Reilly

Please contact me through my gmail. Thanks again.

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