Community Storytelling

Wisdom of Hardship: Awakening Optimism, Faith & Hope 

A CMCCF initiative, in partnership with our global contacts.

For millions of people around our world, facing and surviving hardship has given rise to enduring tales of courage in the face of improbable odds, and to a wisdom that can only emerge from difficulty, loss and suffering. In this series of stories, individuals share wisdom gained through their experiences with a view to inspiring all of us to become more resilient and able to build a better life in times of uncertainty and adversity.

We invite you to take a few moments to watch, listen and be inspired.

While our Wisdom of Hardship stories are filled with a sense of optimism, faith and hope, we also recognize that each story may produce a variety of feelings, thoughts and personal recollections of your own life experiences. To assist you in processing these stories, we invite you to listen to this meditation which has been created by Rhona Graham, a member of our team in Scotland.

Tor Eneroth, Director of Cultural Transformation for the Barrett Values Centre and a member of our team from Sweden, provides tips on self-reflection as you watch and listen to our various storytellers. It is our hope that these tips will assist you in learning from the stories and help to connect the lessons learned and values shared to your own life.

Diverse as we think we are, living through hardship is what we all share. Were it not for our special gift to overcome and learn from impairment and life-threatening experiences, we would be truly lost. This world-wide initiative enlists help and support from people who themselves suffered extreme hardship during their lives and have grown from it. This video introduces Ernst Gehmacher, now 94, who in his younger years opposed the Nazi dictatorship.

Born in Xinjiang, Selina was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in early childhood, forcing her to leave school in junior secondary and stay home. Determined to be independent, she began to study massage therapy and acupuncture in Hong Kong, an 80-hour train ride away. Selina’s story shows how perseverance, self determination, encouragement and the support of others helped her overcome challenges.

Here is the story of Omar, a young man who has lived through the chaos, violence and strife of civil war in his home country. Omar’s story demonstrates how resilience, strength and the words of his mother have guided him through both challenging times and his current life in Canada. Omar shares with us how his past experiences and his long-held values of compassion and understanding for others have contributed immensely to the person he is today.