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July 20, 2022

I’ve been rereading “The Secret History of the IRA”. I first read it several years ago when I interviewed the author, Ed Maloney, former Northern Editor of the Irish Times and The Sunday Tribune. It’s a stunning work of investigative journalism.

Much of the focus is on Gerry Adams a young man who rose from obscurity to become the dominant leader of the IRA. It’s a study on how a moment in history can reveal the inner strength and leadership capacities of formerly unknown people.

As I read I think of Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of beleaguered Ukraine. This former comedian, due to the Russian invasion, has risen to international fame as a “Churchillian” leader. Unrelenting stress has brought out the best in him and the nation.

It’s no trite thing then to reflect on the potential cathartic impact of stressful circumstances. Adversity can break or make you. Indeed, as the Apostle Paul wrote when under pressure, “When I am weak then am I strong.”