We all have an idea of what strength means. Most times what we picture are very strong people doing very hard physical activities. It’s true that Olympians and anyone that is able to physically overcome what seems like insurmountable tasks are physically very strong. They may even seem to have tapped into a type of strength you can’t imagine possessing. These people that defeat mountains without the benefit of adequate air are envied and admired. But do they possess something physically or even spiritually that we don’t have?
Do these individuals have a strength of will that is only available to a very few special people? We’ve watched many individuals overcome situations that many of us are grateful we’ve never had to experience like hurricanes, wars, prisons, and even unexpected, unexplainable localized violence. These people, these amazing humans, seem to have dipped into something that helped them get through situations that no one wants to face. Did they tap into a strength that isn’t readily available to anyone of us at any time? Or as the song suggests do we have to go through tragedy to understand true willpower or is it something that is there already? Do you think and believe, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?”
There was a time in my life when I would have agreed; nodding because everyone else around was saying that it was so. I would say something like, “…only a few have that ability or we have to learn to be that strong.” I do not feel this way even a little bit now.
I’ve overcome many, many situations where my mind would seem to go into overdrive, thinking so fast that I couldn’t today tell you exactly how I got through in one piece or even survived. I was usually alone with another person who was threatening my life or brutally beating me. Throughout all of these times I was never given direction as to how I would get myself out of that situation. And truthfully every single situation presented itself differently than it did the time before. Yet, here I am so many years later with some scarring but breathing and content with my life. And trust me there were a few times when contentment did not seem as if it would ever be part of my reality. And then it wasn’t. Then it was about what to do in that moment with that difficult situation in front of me.
One time in particular stands out for me. An ex-boyfriend had wandered by to see me after spending several nights awake snorting cocaine. So without sleep and with very little common sense he wandered into my open garage, found my three year old daughter standing not too far from me and picked her up. I turned and froze. I didn’t have to be told that this was a bad situation as I knew him; I knew how scary he could be. It took something so extremely foreign within me to keep me from just rushing and grabbing that baby out of his hands but somehow I knew that if I tried it could be tragic for my child. I realize now stopping took something so strong and yet so calm within me to slow my thoughts down so I could truly know how to get both of us out of this situation. My strength, that indefinable infinite willpower that comes over each of us at any given moment, wrapped me in a knowing that eclipsed all irrational thoughts. With strength of conviction and keeping a calm tone I was able to convince this man to trust I would return after making sure my baby was safe inside the house. I turned from him after he gave her to me and purposefully walked into my kitchen closing the door behind me. As soon as I entered my home I locked the door not stopping to try and comprehend what had just happened. I “knew” that we were going to be okay. I called the police keeping the child with me after quickly making sure that all doors and windows were locked. I told him through the garage door that the police were on their way; he ran. I was able to overcome an extremely dangerous situation securely without harm to my child or me and without using physical force.
This ability is something that we all possess and something I’ve had to trust would guide me way too many times. This enviable strength that we deny exists thrives in all of us from the moment we come into this world. It guides us, it covers us, and, yes, even saves us when all hope is lost and rational thought stops. This strength of will or wisdom takes over and we become the Olympian that we felt was too far out of our reach. We do not have to survive those horribly awful experiences to learn of this strength, we are this strength! It accompanies us from the second we take that first breath. It exists with each step and within every moment of our lives.
The next time you think that you cannot bear another disappointment or survive another overwhelming devastating experience, trust that you can and will. Because you have that wisdom, that enviable unlimited strength to do whatever it is you feel you need to do, whenever you need to do it. You are, I am, we are infinitely stronger than we’ve ever imagined.
This knowing gives us the strength to settle in and find the answers to do what it is we need to do whenever and where ever we need to do it.