Last week I visited relatives in Pennsylvania. My mother was dispensing some old family photos and memorabilia. There is one photo with my grandfather sitting on my great grandfather’s team of mules that caught my eye. Later we tagged along with my wife’s sister and her husband to remove some flowers she had placed on family graves for Memorial Day. I’m not one to visit cemeteries on a regular basis, but it was good to be there. To return to the site where I officiated the interment of my incredible mother-in-law Kay (Vera Kay: that’s your great grandmother, whose name you carry). Walking about I also saw the gravestones of some of my distant relatives. The photos and cemeteries reminded me of my place in the world; they helped provide perspective.
Daily I read The Daily Stoic, a collection of 366 meditations by Ryan Holiday. Stoicism appeals to me, and I often gain something from reflecting on the words and ideas of ancient Stoics like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus. Holiday’s reflections often guide my thoughts in helpful ways, too.
Today I thought I’d share Holiday’s June 4 reflection on one of Seneca’s teachings:
No one said life was easy. No one said it would be fair.
Don’t forget, though, that you come from a long, unbroken line of ancestors who survived unimaginable adversity, difficulty, and struggle. It’s their genes and their blood that run through your body right now. Without them, you wouldn’t be here.
You’re an heir to an impressive tradition–and as their viable offspring, you’re capable of what they are capable of. You’re meant for this. Bred for this.
Just something to keep in mind if things get tough.