It is amazing what one finds when you do some digging into the past. Look at this amazing quote by CS Lewis – British writer, philosopher, thinker (1898 – 1963) – and let us agree that this is a poignant message for all of us in these challenging days:

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.

Lewis, a close friend of JRR Tolkien, is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction works like Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.  Having lived through both World Wars, wounded in the trenches at Arras in WWI, he knew about hardship and survival.

Starting where you are, means taking stock of yourself and your situation and redefining your road ahead. One of the buzz phrases I hear regularly these days is the challenge to redefine yourself.

Things have changed. We hear about “the new normal” and that only those capable of adapting to change, will emerge alive and even stronger than before. I ask myself what exactly “redefining yourself” means. And this is where CS Lewis’ quote comes in handy. Start where you are. Forget for a while what you have lost and what you fear you might still lose. Instead, list what you have – in health, skills, people, and any other resources. 

Think back to past challenges and how you conquered them. Try to distill from this process your values and your own inner strength. Ask yourself what you have learned from these days and what you could still learn – from people and problems.

Remind yourself of the age-old challenge to change the things you can, accept what you cannot change – and find the serenity and wisdom to know the difference. That, I am sure, is how you redefine yourself and influence a different ending to this period of challenge and hardship.


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