VOICES: Resilience of human spirit shows up best in our challenges

Credit: Knack Video + Photo

Credit: Knack Video + Photo

The beautiful life is what we all want. Whatever we think that life is, we want it. But very often in the midst of the worst perceived tragedies ever, I’ve seen the beauty of the human spirit come forth.

While none of us want to spend our time thinking about the sad things, it’s interesting how those moments push us beyond ourselves.

I can recall things I thought I’d never get over, things I thought would take me to the mat. It was those very things that ended up moving me in a direction I would have never believed was for me.

In my work, I hear many concerns. Most of which are relatively simple, but every now and then, I get one that is life-changing.

Memorial Day 2019 was such a time. I was home binge-watching Alfred Hitchcock when my daughter called: “Mom, take cover right away, a tornado is coming towards Trotwood.” I had no idea what she was talking about, but I quickly got to my basement.

Shortly thereafter, life in Trotwood was forever changed. Nothing happened where I lived, so as soon as I could, I made my way to command central.

Once there, we began assessing the damage. It was the longest day of my life. All I could think of was, what am I going to see come daylight?

Daylight came. I got out into the community and what I saw was unthinkable devastation everywhere, with people walking around in a daze.

But out of all the carnage, the debris and trash, I saw individuals going out to check on their neighbors, to see if they were okay, to simply help. I saw people who didn’t live in Trotwood show up with food, water, blankets and clothing. Well over 3,000 volunteers came not just to look on but to say, here I am, use me.

People offered their homes and everything one would need in an emergency such as this. Most of all they came with a pure heart and a willingness to help in any way they could. It was the human spirit that rose up.

There is often the opportunity to focus on the tragedy itself, as there were many sad stories, but what I’ve learned is, it is the human spirit that lifts us up, and it was the spirit that got us through all the challenges of a devastating tornado, soon followed by COVID-19.

As I reflect back to my love of Alfred Hitchcock and the great mysteries of old movies, waking up today, I know, it always works out in the end. And the resilience of the human spirit is always with us to carry us on in good times, but often shows up best in our challenges.

Mary A. McDonald is the Mayor of the City of Trotwood.

YWCA Women of Influence

On Thursday, March 10, YWCA Dayton honored eight women during its 2022 Women of Influence awards luncheon. To commemorate Womens History Month, Ideas & Voices partnered with the YWCA to share some of the speeches given at the event.

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