My Opinion | Jul 20,2019
Mar 12 , 2022
By Eden Sahle ( Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at email@example.com. )
I have a close friend I look up to as a great role model and beloved sister. She is an air force pilot who served in Syria, among other nations. We met back in 2018, in a foreign country where I was attending university. We quickly bonded and became inseparable. We lived together at the university's dormitory and spent almost all of our time together.
She does most things out of the ordinary, such as climb high and jump down quickly like a cat, perform extreme sports, and showed me how to prepare and defend against sudden danger. With her energy intact, she can stay without food for several days. Even when things get wrong, her mental stability remains the same.
I asked where she learned such things. Saying that she now can trust me, told me she served in the air force as a pilot. She learnt all the skills at a military camp. She showed me gunshot wounds on her slim but muscular body and photos of the jet she flew.
It was fascinating. She was young but had attained several academic, professional, and personal accomplishments. Her ability to be firm, strong, loving, caring, and down to earth even as a combatant is stirring to witness. I wished to have her mental and physical strength. I assumed that nothing would ever overwhelm me if I could get training like she did, no matter how tough things get.
Getting to know her more proved me wrong. It is not about the training she got, but it has a lot to do with her mindset. She passed through several tragedies that taught her strength at various seasons of life. It was not about being optimistic before problems hit but intentionally working through difficulties to bounce back after falling.
In her career, losing her fellow air force pilots and close friends in a war zone and watching them crash to the ground did not make her give up on life but to be invested in today as tomorrow is not promised yet. I never understood all she does as an air force pilot but her admirable life outlook even when she lost what is precious to her was admirable.
A suicide bomber killed her only sister with a few others in an outdoor restaurant while she was waiting to meet her. She later met the bomber's family. Her training, the weapons she carried, and the loss of her sister made her more likely to take revenge.
Nevertheless, she did what her training was not able to give her. The family of the bomber, when she found them, were grieving. The bomber was a teenage boy. They were on the brink of hunger as the only breadwinner was gone, taking the lives of others with him. She met a single mother left with young children. The family offered an apology and they were reconciled. They swapped blood for peace.
My friend found out there was nothing to avenge but a shared human tragedy. Surprising herself, she offered her helping hand to the young man's family.
No amount of education or military skill can imbue compassion and understanding like this. Keeping hope even when nothing can bring back what we lost is noble. Life is tough and we do not get to predict what happens to our loved ones or to us. But we can be strong, courageous and resilient in the midst. It is vital to equip oneself for what life would be at a minimum – a series of difficulties and traumas that should be confronted and at times survived.
My friend’s honourable decision to give up on revenge and help the family of her sister's killer strained her relationship with her own. She was strong enough to realise that doing the right thing is priceless even if we stand alone. Sometimes, the people we thought would stand with us can disappoint us, but it should not deter us from doing the right thing.
In this life, we are either in adversity, out of it or heading towards it. The solution is to get wiser one day at a time so that we will not be irreparably broken when the storm hits. Character is not something we inherit but something we build during a crisis.
What life throws at us can be different. Loss can be many things. A challenge for one person does not mean a tragedy for many; we all handle and view life differently. But one thing is sure when that thing that can break us comes along; we will be left to choose between hope and hopelessness. What we choose can determine our future. We will not enjoy every facet of life’s journey but the strength we find in the end will be worth it.
PUBLISHED ON Mar 12,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1141]
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