Strength to come through the storm

It's often difficult to comprehend the depth of a struggle that someone else has been through. Yet when we do glimpse something of the victory another has gained, it's inspiring. It encourages us to go forward ourselves. We feel a little more assurance that the challenges confronting our own lives can be overcome.

Of course there are many examples of people who have come through life's storms. I once read some of the published letters of a young Civil War soldier facing the horrors of combat. See "Dear Mother, I Still Live," GEO, August 1982, pp. 46-57, 1 10 . From 1861 to 1865 the United States saw its families, institutions, lands, being devastated by this internal strife. A young man from Massachusetts had joined the Union Army as a private in the fall of 1861 . And when the war was over, of the 936 men who originally made up his regiment, only 68 had survived.

Early in his tour of duty and after one particularly difficult battle, he wrote a letter to his mother. His own side had been routed. He told of seeing many killed and wounded. Then he ended his letter, " 'I still live.' "

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October 5, 1987

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