Dose #4: Strength; A Mighty Roar, A Faint Whisper
"Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it." ~ Winston Churchill
I'm not sure about strength. I'm not always sure when it comes or where it comes from, its presence not easily recognized - its form rarely the same. Sometimes felt as conviction, or fear of the alternative, sometimes persistence, sometimes in a hardy, hopeful stride across a muddy field, sometimes formed in quiet, sometimes in fighting mad determination. Sometimes we don't realize it showed up until the fight has ended.
Sometimes strength is knowing when to let go. Sometimes it's what stops you from falling to your knees when someone who cares about what happens to you comes to mind. It pulls you up and out of bed one more day as you envision the face, and hear the gentle voice of someone who stood by you in another time and place - someone who loved you, no matter what. Sometimes it comes when the only thing that lifts your depleted soul is knowing someone needs you, someone you can't let down, someone more dependent, less able than you. You have to keep going. You have no choice.
I know we have it. I know sometimes it's flails under the weight of doubt and exhaustion. I know sometimes when we rest, it comes back, its force renewed.
I know there are moments when we see no way out, still, the heart keeps beating, taking us to the next step, however fragile the footing...it rails against conclusions of hopelessness, turns a deaf ear to the assessment of not one strand of strength left to keep going. The heart has its own mission, and doing it well, gives us time to catch our breath.
Psychologists talk about strength - they spend time helping clients identify courage and clout to remind and reassure - there is something to lean on, something deep inside, there, waiting to be tapped when life gets hard. "You're resilient", "See how persistence got you through this difficult time", we say, "Your ability to maintain a good perspective, to know what matters, this will carry you through". And, as we say it, we hope it's true, we hope it's heard, we hope the person we're talking to will know it, feel it...we can't do it for them. We wish with everything we've got that strength will triumph over the doubt overwhelming the beautiful and remarkable life that, without warning, finds itself lost in isolation and despair.
If there is no one there to hold your hand, to tell you these things, to illuminate what it is you're made of - find quiet. Find a place that demands nothing of you...a place that will not care how you look or what you have or what you know. A place so grand in its simplicity it's too big to care about such things as what you've accomplished or how many friends you have. A place of safety and peace that cares nothing of those things we give so much importance, those things leading us to think of ourselves as failures, fools, and has-beens.
And, when you go there, once you find it, keep it with you always. Go to it regularly - revive it, paint it with colour and light and warmth. Make it what you wish it to be. Allow it to form, not in one sitting, but many. It will tell you what it needs - words to soothe, images awakening hope. Find it in silence - in your favourite chair, as you walk under the shelter of grand trees, feel the warmth of an outstretched paw resting in the palm of your hand - one minute in prayer, five minutes of stillness, a day-long conversation with your soul. Strength is not heard in busyness, not revealed in chaos. Listen there - in that place - no more than a whisper, the presence of strength.
Note: If you know someone in need of strength, please pass this post forward...thank you.