“If you’re going through hell. Keep on going. Don’t slow down. If you’re scared, don’t show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.” – If You’re Going Through Hell – Rodney Atkins.
This song’s title comes from two different areas of life, one a quote from Winston Churchill “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” and the other part of the title is from an Irish blessing “May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you’re dead.” This #1 country hit from Rodney Atkins gets to the heart of knocking down the obstacles that life puts in your way.
My final year of college I was living in a $250 a month two bedroom apartment with four other guys (for a total of FIVE dudes). Picture the worst college apartment you can think of and multiply that by at least 3. Never cleaned, mattresses on the floor in both bedrooms, I slept on an old moldy couch. Dishes PILED UP HIGH on the counter near the sink that might have worked, cracks in the plaster and who knows how many bugs. The apartment was on the top floor of a building in Bangor Maine near the college, and you had to climb three sets of stairs just to get to our not full size door to duck under and climb another set of steps up into our apartment. I came home from work one cold early April night to find the roommate brought in before me, Christian, strung out on some kind of drugs and begging for a fight with me over who knows what.
This is the part of me going through my “own hell” at that time. I could have succumbed to the peer pressure and began taking drugs with those “friends”, but I didn’t. Christian and I got into an ugly situation and it left with me leaving the apartment, sleeping in my Chevy Spectrum with everything I owned in it for the rest of the night and not knowing where I would ultimately land in the weeks to come before graduation. I remember going back to college that Monday and not knowing where I would spend the night, which has happened more than once in my life. I later found out that Christian was an ex-convict with quite a record, and that night could have turned out much worse. I could have let Christian and demons win, but I didn’t. I kept on going and didn’t let the devil take over my life.
An acquaintance through college had an extra bedroom in his house and gave me a place to stay in the next town over until I graduated. I poured myself into my work, working at two different jobs in my career path until I graduated, and landed a full-time job in my field just before graduation.
I’m sure you and many others have deeper stories of your own personal hells you have gone through. The key is to do as Rodney says in his song, don’t slow down, if you’re scared don’t show it. Who knows, you might get out before the devil even knows you’re there – and come out the other side better for the experience. That’s another example of #LyricsToLiveLifeBy.