Welcome to the May issue of The MOON magazine! This month we explore the idea that “In adversity there is strength,” or as Bo Lozoff says, “We can do hard.”
There’s a current running through popular culture—in the U.S. at least—that if your life is difficult, there must be something wrong with you. If you would only “focus on the positive,” the negative would magically disappear.
But how does that square with the history of the world? Slavery wasn’t abolished by ignoring it. Gandhi didn’t topple the British Empire by focusing on its good qualities.
There is no easy path to the top of the mountain. If we want to do great things, we generally have to exert great effort. And the surprising fact is, the ecstasy is in some measure commensurate with the agony. Victory is sweeter to those who have also known defeat. Life can’t be a pleasure walk twenty-four/seven. The expectation that it should be will surely end in disappointment—which is perhaps why Americans consume so many anti-depressants. We’ve forgotten that “in adversity there is strength.” If nothing else, an unbearable situation will motivate us to change.
This month’s contributors offer various perspectives on this theme. Our interview is with Immaculée Ilibagiza, the heart-opening Rwandan genocide survivor. Best-selling author and motivational speaker Lisa Nichols reminds us how breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs. Bo Lozoff writes about the deeper meaning of our daily struggles. Pamela Burditt tells about giving up comfort and security to embrace the unknown, and Varsha Mathrani shares the lessons learned from malaria. This month’s gripping short story, “River’s Edge,” describes one woman’s solution to an unbearable situation. You’ll love the lyrics (and recording of) songwriter Rain Perry’s “Yosemite,” and Kent Gerdes’ poem about the pleasant surprises of sharing a ride with a stranger. And don’t miss filmmaker Erich Lyttle’s reel of breathtaking feats against adversity in this month’s Gallery.
I know my own life has been hard for the last few years, and I’m trusting—sometimes against my inclination—that I’ll be a better person if I ever find my way to Easy Street again. If your own life has been hard of late, please remember that it’s when the chips are down that humans most often rise to their greatness.
We can do hard.