We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome. Isabel Allende

A failed marriage. A looming divorce. A public scandal. A dream destroyed. Legitimate descriptions when in the midst of reconfiguring life and family. That’s true regardless of the reason for the change, whether it’s due to divorce or death. It’s easy to be swept away by the fear. Numerous decisions must be made. It’s overwhelming.

There was a time in my life, many years ago now, that I faced something that knocked me to my knees. I hadn’t a clue how to respond or negotiate the territory once I chose among the responses available to me. No one in my immediate circle had faced anything similar. So I took a bold move and reached out to person who, on a public scale, had been in my shoes. Someone who didn’t know me from Adam but I had heard about her. I wrote to her and shared my reality and she graciously corresponded with me and ultimately met with me. She was my gentle guide and I queried her often about how she overcame when she had been knocked to her knees decades earlier. She shared her story with me and I was beyond grateful for her generous spirit. And I came to believe her when she said she was grateful for the privilege she’d had on numerous occasions to do for others what she was doing for me. 

I toured my brother’s new office in Texas recently and saw this print on the wall of one of his employees. It reminded of the woman who not only overcame her situation but shared her story with me, offering me a survival guide.

If your reality has knocked you to your knees, look for those people who’ve negotiated this territory before you. Allow them to share their story of overcoming with you. And choose your response after careful contemplation and know that one day, you’ll have the opportunity to share your survival guide too. Because, you will survive.

You will.

Wishing you wisdom,

Deborah Bennet Berecz


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Berecz and Associates PLC | Attorneys, Mediators, Collaborative Lawyers | Grand Rapids, MI | Saint Joseph, MI

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