You all know the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It’s a pretty famous saying.
Well, I think that saying is one to live by.
If you’re like me…you can probably agree that LIFE GETS TOUGH sometimes for EVERYBODY. I think that’s one thing we ALL have in common…tough times. No matter who we are. No matter what we do. Tough times come.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:45 that it rains on the just AND the unjust….and the sun rises on both the good AND the evil. Yes, we all get rain AND sun.
Sometimes our tough times are short. Sometimes they’re long. Sometimes it’s just a bad day or a bad week. At other times, it’s a bad SEASON that lasts months or even years.
I’ve had several “bad seasons” in my lifetime….several “seasons of tough times.” Sometimes because of trauma or abuse, sometimes because I lost a loved one, sometimes because of unemployment, pay cuts and job stresses, and sometimes…well…just because of ME…going down what I call “the mental path of destruction.” No matter what the reason for my season, there’s always been one thing that was HARD for me to do during tough times…GET MY MOTOR GOING.
I’m not sure if it was my depression at times that slowed me down or just plain exhaustion and fear. Whatever the reason, I often found it hard to get my motor going. You see, it doesn’t always come “naturally” to people to be tough…not to ME…not to ANYONE. There are times you want to just stay in bed and pull the covers over your head. After all, your bed feels safe and warm, and the world is SCARY sometimes.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the longest-serving President of all times, said this. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that SOMETHING ELSE IS MORE IMPORTANT than fear.” Wow! What a powerful quote!
You want to know something funny? I wouldn’t expect a quote like that to come from any other president.
Out of ALL the Presidents I’ve learned about in history, FDR is “the one” I would have EXPECTED to say that. You see, FDR was elected in the middle of the Great Depression. His entire Presidential career was launched and lived during “tough times.”
He was MADE during the TOUGH times. Or maybe…he was made FOR the tough times. Either way, FDR must have done a great job, because he was the ONLY President to be elected for a record four terms!! He is known for being the President that helped Americans believe in THEMSELVES again. I think he was America’s “security blanket,” and that’s why we just couldn’t let him go.
I’m sure Roosevelt’s presidency was no “walk in the park.” The Great Depression was a scary time. My grandpa was born during the Great Depression in the decade living in infamy as the “Dirty Thirties.” He lived through the “Dust Bowl,” a time where a LITERAL dark cloud of dust blew in like a tsunami of sand and devastated over 100 million acres of America’s farmlands!
Trust me, my grandpa and his family were TRAUMATIZED! You could tell because Grandpa lived like there was a Great Depression for 86 years…all the way ’til 2016!
So don’t tell me tough times aren’t traumatizing! I know from personal experience that they are. Tough times change a person. Tough times change FAMILIES…sometimes, even for GENERATIONS!
Another interesting thing about tough times is…SOMETIMES THEY DON’T STOP. Sometimes they come in waves like the rolling seas…never stopping but ever changing…all at the same time. The waves are low and slow sometimes, then high and forceful. Sometimes they roll beneath a sunny sky. Sometimes they crash within a stormy sea. The waves keep coming nonetheless…always heading towards the shore.
Yes, tough times come in waves. Right when you’ve rebuilt after the toughest storm of your life…another storm is sometimes already seen off in the horizon.
I guess that’s something I have in common with FDR–having tough times that come back to back. You see, you would think the Great Depression alone would have been PLENTY ENOUGH for one President to deal with, but no. There was more in store for FDR. He was also the President during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. HE was the President who reluctantly signed the orders to send our troops into battle during World War II.
One of my favorite quotes is one found inside the diary of the Japanese General who planned and executed the attack on Pearl Harbor, Isoruku Yamamoto. “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
History proves that FDR was not the type of President that was out “looking for a fight.” But…lucky for us, he also wasn’t the type of President that BACKED DOWN FROM ONE either. It reminds me of that great country song that came out right after September 11th, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (AKA: The Angry American)” by Toby Keith. FDR was the “big dog [that] will fight when you rattle his cage.” Yamamoto was RIGHT! Japan had awaken the sleeping giant indeed. FDR was that man…a MAN that had become a GIANT during the “tough times” of his life and Presidency. Tough times like the Great Depression. I think that a person grows during their tough times. I also believe that the more tough times you have…the more of a GIANT you become.
I want to introduce you to a new concept regarding FDR, one you may have never thought of. I want to introduce you to the context of another extremely popular American saying…another saying that was suspected to have been birthed in the 1940’s amidst the triumph and trials of World War II. “Behind every great man is a great woman.” This was certainly true about FDR. He had a great woman behind him named Eleanor.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin did an AMAZING JOB collecting and recording the remarkable “behind the scenes” thoughts and conversations that took place in the White House during some of America’s toughest times. She wrote a book called No Ordinary Time.
In Goodwin’s book, she tells us how Eleanor Roosevelt described her husband’s demeanor after receiving the call about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She called FDR “deadly calm.” I love that!! Yamamoto’s “sleeping giant”…awaken…and now “deadly calm.” I can almost see it in my mind’s eye. FDR walking down the halls of the White House towards Eleanor…calm…resolved…DEADLY!
In an amazing blog post entitled “FDR reacts to news of Pearl Harbor bombing”, the authors of History.com write that President Roosevelt “told Eleanor that it would take time for the United States to build up its military and that he feared the nation would ‘have to take a good many defeats before we can have a victory.'” Boy, was he right about that!
Isn’t that how life goes sometimes? I know it went that way for me during my tough times. I LOST A LOT OF BATTLES…BEFORE I WON THE WAR!
But don’t think for one second that I emerged from the war victorious without a few battle scars of my own. Scars in my mind. Scars on my heart. You see, I never considered myself a tough one. I NEVER NEEDED TO BE. I had a great childhood, the best parents, and a friend group that people only get once in a lifetime! I had a great education and the strongest foundation for my faith. I had it all going for me…so it would seem.
I was raised “in a bubble” in the middle of Los Angeles. My parents thought nothing bad would ever get in. Maybe I did too. But it did. There is a man serving a life sentence for something he did to me and another little girl…TWO LIFE SENTENCES, in fact. Before you get running down a mental path of destruction of your own, though…TRY to stay focused. Don’t let the questions and specifics get you distracted from the point. The point is…TOUGH TIMES FIND EVERYONE! Even the innocent. Even the protected. Tough times find you when you’re asleep in your bed…just like the soldiers were…asleep on their ships, docked safely in Pearl Harbor. Sometimes, you see the tough times coming, and sometimes you don’t. FDR expected an attack. He just thought it would be IN THE PHILIPPINES. He NEVER EXPECTED Pearl Harbor.
Did you know that “ELEANOR actually addressed the nation on the subject of war BEFORE her husband” did? I found that SHOCKING!! I don’t know why I never expected that? Especially in this age of “women empowerment” where more and more stories of great women are coming to the surface.
In my own personal experience, the women sometimes are the FIRST to react. I know in my home, that’s true. While my husband is the sleeping giant walking to the War Room in a deadly calm, I am the mother who gathers the troops and gives the inspiring speeches that evoke the courage and strength to CARRY OUT THE ORDERS we are about to receive. I guess in that way, I am like Eleanor. She did the same thing. You see, she had a weekly radio broadcast that was ALREADY scheduled for THAT VERY EVENING! And instead of AVOIDING the subject, she EMBRACED IT! I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for her to step up to the microphone knowing what she was about to say and knowing the tremendous impact her words would have on the hearts and resolve of the American people. I KNOW she had probably run that speech by her husband and his cabinet and each word had probably been carefully chosen. ELEANOR was the “chosen one”–NOT FDR…to break the news to the American people that WE WERE IN WAR.
I think Eleanor’s biggest victory of all was SHOWING UP that day! SHE took the “first step that won the war”…and she took it alone! To me, the most important step taken towards world peace was the step ELEANOR took when she STEPPED UP to the microphone. “She told listeners that although the United States had been THRUST RELUCTANTLY into the war, she was CONFIDENT that ‘whatever is asked of [America] we shall accomplish it.'” This confidence was REMARKABLE…considering the Americans she was talking about were still STAGGERING after the surprising blow at Pearl Harbor, the sounds of bombs still ringing in their ears. They hadn’t fallen over…YET! They were still standing…but BARELY. Yes, the Americans were standing, paralyzed in shock, full of grief and fear from the recent news of THOUSANDS of innocent lives LOST,…some of which were family and friends…sons and daughters. It was a DEVASTATING BLOW indeed! In that broadcast that went out to America just HOURS AFTER the news of Pearl Harbor broke, Eleanor called her fellow Americans “the free and UNCONQUERABLE people of the U.S.A.” AMEN TO THAT, ELEANOR!! WE ARE INDEED!
And so, I end with this…the CORONAVIRUS IS NOTHING compared to World War II and the Great Depression…
…Especially if we stick together and dig deep into those reserves of UNTAPPED STRENGTH that our Forefathers left us. Our OWN PERSONAL forefathers…like our grandpas, our uncles, our dads. OUR MEN who WALKED THROUGH the Great Depression, the World Wars, and Vietnam. You heard their stories. You LEARNED the LESSONS they taught you…the lessons HISTORY taught you. NOW IT’S OUR TURN to live them out. IT’S OUR TURN to band together…across political and socioeconomic lines.
RAISE THE FLAG…like you did on September 11th in 2001, and “Make America Great Again!”
NOTE: This website is in NO WAY affiliated with ANY political group or association and is NOT an incoming-generating site. The author of this article is an independent who used the phrase “Make America Great Again!” because she loves America and ALL Americans and wishes only greatness on her homeland and its people–ALL its people, across ALL political and socioeconomic lines. Using this phrase was not intended to express a political view.