“The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.” – Dan Reeves
I think most people can relate to this quote since disappointments and injustices find their way into our lives. Two remarkable people come to mind when I reflect on this quote. Two years ago Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan was shot in the head by Taliban members and almost died. She had attended school, and in the eyes of the Taliban, this was considered an offense against Islam. Following her surgery and a lengthy recovery, Malala dedicated her life to working for the rights of girls around the world to an education. She has taken her campaign to the world stage, notably, with a speech last year at the United Nations. Through her heroic efforts girls around the world have received encouragement to pursue an education that was thought to be impossible. At 17 she is the youngest woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Pakistani Prime Minister Navez Sharif responded to the Nobel award to Malala: “She is the pride of Pakistan; she has made her country proud…. Her achievements are unparalleled. No bullet can stop this determined young woman whose life is better by making the lives of many other girls better.”
For Andy Parker of Martinsville, VA, August 26 will be an anniversary that brings great pain. His daughter Alison, a television news reporter, was shot and killed by a deranged gunman while she was filming for a Roanoke station.
His loss did not lead him to bitterness, but to determination to be part of the solution to the epidemic of gun violence. “Whatever it takes,” is his response to ending the slaughter. So, after his daughter’s murder he responded, “I plan to devote all my strength and resources to seeing that some good comes from this evil. I am entering this arena with open eyes. I realize the magnitude of the force that opposes sensible and reasonable safeguards on the purchase of devices that have a single purpose: to kill.”
With courage and determination they continue to choose life that makes life better for others.