“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” Bob Marley
I discovered this quote at Behind the White Coat: https://doctorly.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/%e2%80%8bwho-knew-a-broken-blue-sky/
I like that Bob Marley quote. But I believe we always have a choice. There are many times when I’ve felt like I had to be strong, like for my kids after the divorce. I could have fallen apart, but I didn’t, at least not in front of the kids. I didn’t give up because I had a responsibility to my children. And I didn’t want to hurt my parents.
Deep down, I knew there was the possibility that things could better though I did not know how.
I could have been stronger and not gotten involved in that rebound from hell, but in my grief, I made some poor choices. There were may points of choice along the way. Ultimately, thankfully, I made better choices.
Recognizing that we choose to be strong, even when we think we have no choice, is a way of giving ourselves credit for not giving up, affirming our strength.
Being strong often means asking for help from people who have our best interests in mind, those who will build us up with love. I’ve read that trees with roots entwined with other trees are stronger in storms, that trees help each other.
In October, I went hiking in the mountains with my son who is now 30. The trail was “moderately strenuous” with plenty of steep elevations changes.
“This is kinda scary,” I said at one point trying to figure out where to put my feet to walk across a curved rock next to a steep bank. If I made the wrong step, I might have fallen down into the rocky creek.
I believe I could have eventually traversed the rock by myself if I’d had to. But I didn’t have to. I asked for my son’s hand. He reached out giving me the courage to step onto the rock. I felt his strength as I crossed over. What a strange feeling to know he is physically stronger than me. I’d love to know he is becoming wiser than me… maybe in another 30 years.
Sometimes it feels like things are falling apart. We wonder how things got to this point of scariness. It feels like chaos. In these times, we need to reach out for help. We need to support each other. And we need to remember the things that make us stronger.
If I had read Lisa’s list of “Ten empowering thoughts to hold on to when it’s all falling apart” 15 years ago, I would have taped them on my refrigerator, and my bathroom mirror, and my bedroom mirror.
Believing that things could get better, focusing on the constants in my life, and surrounding myself with loving, caring people helped me continue to put one foot in front of the other, to find a path out of the darkness.
And things did get better in time. Better than I would have ever imagined.
Because God can write straight with lines that don’t look straight at all.