Overcoming all odds… a beautiful and moving post by Caroline James
I was looking through some family papers recently and came across a fading newspaper dated Friday August 17th 1945. A headline read, ' End of World War.' This referred to the dramatic news of
's unconditional surrender, as told to the nation by Prime Minister Mr Attlee. Two day's holiday was subsequently announced to mark VJ Day and celebrations began. Far away in a jungle in Japan my father was ultimately freed from captivity, as news began to infiltrate the numerous prison camps. He was twenty six years old and had been a prisoner for three and a half years. When he eventually returned to Burma , having been kept under close medical supervision for malnutrition, he learnt that both his parents had recently died, never to see their youngest son make it through his ordeal at the hands of the Japanese. England
My father never held a grudge. He re-built his life and never spoke ill of the Japanese. He was subjected to horrors beyond our imagining and was tormented with ill health caused by repeated bouts of malaria and wounds relating to frequent beatings as a starving prisoner being forced to build a railway line. His attitude of forgiveness taught me much and I endeavour to remember it.
Often it is difficult to find humility towards those that do us harm or put us down and I wonder where his will to survive came from. He came from a poor family, the son of a miner who was shunned by his wealthy family because of his politics and his mother was a maid in service. Ridiculed by local kids when he gained a grammar school scholarship, Dad survived his working class background, got his exams and went into business - he was always determined to overcome all odds.
What gave him that inner strength? For inner strength is something we all need at certain times in our lives. Did someone inspire him (as he inspired me)? Did he get support from other prisoners, friends or colleagues? Problems are relative and what is great to some is small to others, its how you deal with the problem that gets you through. Having support is invaluable, which is why a group like Famous Five Plus helps its members. The support network and kindness shown makes magic happen. Authors blossom in this environment and with dedication achieve great things. It's about overcoming all odds, whichever way you choose to do it.
How do you overcome all odds? For me, my Dad's attitude of forgiveness enabled him to move forward (and I try to remember this - especially with any bad reviews!).
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