Tanzanian Proverb: Two Ants Do Not Fail to Pull One Grasshopper

Brick columns

1911 Building columns glow from morning Fall sun.

Ants and grasshopper

The approach of winter break can often feel just as it sounds, cold, blistery and isolating. Final exams, papers and grades loom as you race to the finish. For some, the expected visit home afterward is welcomed and for others it may bring dread or mixed feelings. Whether or not you are overwhelmed by your final assignments, the anticipated break, or both, remember that what seems too much for you to bear can always be lightened by reaching out for support. Several years ago, my husband and I experienced a tremendous loss that quickly became overwhelming. But as we gained the courage to reach out to those we knew who could support us, we learned the power of two short words β€” “me too.” As we shared, we discovered that there were others who had experienced a similar loss, and they had not only survived but had joy once again. Knowing we were not alone in our pain and struggle gave us the encouragement we needed to press forward. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Finishing the semester or making it through the break may be akin to an ant trying to move a grasshopper, but sometimes just hearing “me too” gives us the power of community. It reminds us that we were never designed to do this thing called life alone and suddenly what seemed impossible before is already done.

Donna C. Battle is a counseling intern in NC State’s African American Cultural Center. Reach her by email or phone at 919-513-3014.