March is Women’s History Month and the theme for 2011 is Our History is Our Strength. In honor of this month I chose a prompt related to this to provide my writing circle with.
Consider times of struggle you have gone through in your life and how those times have affected your character.
- What lessons have you learned during times of struggle?
- Do you believe that struggle makes one stronger?
Consider women in your family tree who stand out to you as having endured significant struggle.
- What effect has their strength and endurance had on future generations?
- What effect will your own experiences of enduring through times of trial have an impact on your children or grandchildren?
Write about a time in your life when you were required to draw upon an inner strength that you hadn’t known you possessed.
Imagine a woman with four children living with her husband in a land that is becoming increasing hostile toward your Mennonite beliefs. Imagine the fear when her husband said they were to leave that country for the promise of a new life in Canada. Imagine losing one of those dear children on the voyage to that new life. Imagine birthing four more children over the next six years and having none survive beyond their third birthday. Imagine losing yet another child to illness, one who had survived the harsh ocean voyage to Canada. Imagine, in time, giving birth to four more healthy children. Twelve children. Six lost.
I cannot imagine the character it would take to endure such hardship but my great-grandmother Katarina knew. I like to think that some of her strength and character lives on in me.
In the twenty-first century our strength may take a different form but I believe that our descendents will tell stories about our experience that will remind them of the resilience of women too. Our history is our strength but so is our future; the lives we live today can’t help but impact those who will come after us. I like to think that hundreds of years from now a woman will consider the story of my life and hope that some of my character lives on in her.
It’s true: our history is our strength. It’s why we tell stories about our family and pass them on to future generations.
Our future is also our strength. Consider that the experience we have today will live on after we are gone. The thought inspires me to live my best life.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
“Misfortune had made Lily supple instead of hardening her, and a pliable substance is less easy to break than a stiff one.” ~ Edith Wharton in The House of Mirth
What a powerful post! We need the shadows for the light’s brightness to be fully revealed. Your great grandmother was an amazing woman. I too believe we carry the strength of our ancestors and bring it to the world through our own tender and unstoppable hearts.
I love how you put that, Deb. “we carry the strength of our ancestors and bring it to the world through our own tender and unstoppable hearts.” Beautiful.
Oh! Your piece is moving, Linda. And what a strong exercise, too.
Thank you, Janna! Are you up for the writing prompt?!