The Strength of Heart

It takes a lot of strength when we’re weak. Getting up when knocked on our tushes can often take all the power we can muster. Facing conflicts head-on with awareness involves having the courage to face unknown circumstances and outcomes. Dealing with people we love and have hurt can make us uncertain but knowing that we have the dignity, courage, and conviction to try to right the wrongs in our lives offers a glimpse of hope and strength we never knew we possessed. My friend Shari has learned this the hard way.

Imagine being happily married to the love of your life with a child. She had everything and lost it all due to various reasons. She still has her child and is now a grandmother. But she lost everything she worked hard for throughout her life because of rash decisions, bad timing, and people who lied to her repeatedly. She was one of the top purchase managers in the country until fate intervened. It’s taken her a long time to put the pieces back in her life, but she’s doing it step by step. You see, Shari’s strength comes from her heart and her faith. She’s not perfect. She has the same struggles that most of us do, but she isn’t willing to let life take her down. Every day brings her new opportunities. Sometimes she prefers to sleep through most of those opportunities because her strength gets drained. Other times she is anxious to change her life because she’s tired of the same story stuck on repeat.

Shari isn’t alone. There have been so many instances in my life where everything was going great until it wasn’t. When knocked down, I struggled to find my footing. When I lost my job, marriage, children, faith, hope, father, and other people important to me, my world felt as if the wind was extracted from my body like a vacuum and emptied into a bottomless bag filled with dirt and dust. My vision for myself and my life stuck in neutral. Living in the past was more accessible than dealing with the present. The present brought realities and tears. The past gave me the carrot in front of me that I thought I needed to keep going. The most challenging part of the journey? Letting go of the past and realizing the carrot I thought was dangling had rotted.

One of my favorite past times is to watch people. I’m not talking in a creepy stalkerish way. What I’m referring to is seeing how people are in their day-to-day lives. When was the last time you observed people? Have you ever noticed that you can tell a lot about people because of how they interact with others? For instance, a man at the coffee shop is always in a hurry and never has time to deal with people. He’s glued to his phone. Do you think he’s dealing with personal drama in his life? Or do you think he’s going through the motions? Do you think it takes strength to be an ass, or does it show signs of cowardness? What about people who are homeless? Do you believe that everyone who has found themselves homeless is weak? The truth is that we all have strengths that stem from significant weaknesses. Life is not always kind, but as a society, we have the power to give kindness and strength to those who no longer feel strong.

Other kinds of strengths stem from weaknesses. Look at anyone that is fighting an illness. When cancer or other serious diseases infiltrate the body, the body takes a beating. It’s not just a physical beating but an emotional one as well. A person has to equip their mind, body, and spirit for the upcoming battle to either get well or deal with the ending of life. That’s not an easy task. I’ve seen men and women who could have given Daniel in the Lion’s Den a run for his money fight battles that made them a shell of the person they once were. Legal actions can wear on our systems in ways that no one can comprehend unless they have walked in our shoes. No venue in this world doesn’t drain people in some way. It’s what we choose to do and fight that gives way to tapping into undiscovered strength.

When my Dad got sick, there was a part of me that had no time to react. I lost everything in a short period. I barely slept because I took care of him. I didn’t have a social life. I didn’t care about that because Dad took precedence over everything and everyone else at that time. I hated his cancer and was angry at it for taking hold of my Dad. I had little tolerance for people who mistreated him and was mega pissed with healthcare for their role in his misdiagnosis. I educated myself about gliomas and what treatment options were available. I started finding out more about various types of brain tumors and what the patients were contending with so that I could be a better support system for Dad. I learned about vast food options so that Dad could not feel that cancer took everything from him. Through my friends and resources, I found strength that I never knew I needed but couldn’t have survived without those resources.

This reasoning is why I say that our hearts are the strength we didn’t know we needed. You see, I’m not referring to our physical hearts. That muscle can be weak even when we don’t recognize its problems. I’m talking about the heart that beats in our souls. When we find the heart inside us that feels dead and defeated, we can begin to rise like the phoenix. We need a mustard seed inside us that can grow, and our confidence grows with it. When people and businesses knock us down, we are getting back up. The reason? We have so much to offer that we refuse to stay down. We are not obedient dogs for others to command. We all have a voice, and we’re finding ways to use those voices to invoke change in the world. History hasn’t been made by those who talked about change. It’s been changed rightly or wrongly by those who enacted changes.

So my hope for all of you is no matter how much other people knock you down, get up. There will always be someone out there who has been through a worse situation than you have. What’s important is that you keep pushing through the hard times. You have the strength to do anything in this world that you believe in and are willing to make the changes necessary for those things to happen. As long as you aren’t trying to hurt others by helping yourself, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. This world has been hurting enough people throughout history. Who knows? You may be the person to change this world for the better. Whatever you decide to do in life, always get back up. Your strength may stem from being weak, but you can always turn your most significant weaknesses into your biggest strength. Have a great day, everyone.

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