At first glance
She seems fragile
Her rippled shadow
Insubstantial as a windblown reed or dragonfly’s wing
But look deeper…
Do not imagine that strength is bound in muscle or bone
It is her Spirit that stands tall against the world
She points at obstacles
With a pink, gauze-wrapped finger
Declaring her prerogative, her will
Tenacious and inevitable
Walls will crumble
We think we know where we are.
If we’re lucky, we know where we want to be.
The hard part is
How do we get there?
It takes strength
To plot a course,
Fortitude to maintain it,
But, most of all,
Insight and self-awareness to question and reevaluate
And courage to know when it’s best to deviate or change course.
To stand and remain straight, and proud
Strength of mind, strength of character
To bare the confusion, the doubts
Knowing your core, your essence, remains uncorrupted.
Is that courage? No, that’s not quite the right word.
Courage is pushing on when you fear what’s before you.
Fortitude is standing tall when you’re mired in the ordeal.
I think fortitude is the more challenging of the two.
What do I mean when I tell you that I think you’re strong?
It has nothing to do with muscle, nothing to do with domination.
It has everything to do with determination.
Is iron strong? … rust can infect the strongest iron beam
What about oak? … the simplest kudzu can strangle the tallest oak tree
So, maybe steel … steel towers tumble down at the most inconvenient times
Don’t look to Samson to define strength; no girly-girl hairdo can take down true strength.
…and Hercules, thief of apples, cows and girdles…what can he know about true strength?
To be “strong” is to be able to pick yourself up, again and again, as Murphy throws road blocks, speed bumps and curves at you. Strength is persevering, even when all you want to do is crawl back into bed and pretend that the world is not out there. Strength is finding your stride when you didn’t believe you could ever walk again.
It is something none of us believe we have, but the best of us will find when most needed.
To be strong is to be unconquerable…