You are strong.
However, strength does not mean every day will be easy. It does not mean that, at some point, life will not feel pointless, overwhelming, or just plain hard. Because it will. As strong as you are life will, at times, whip you around and batter you in an assault that begins to look relentless.
Still, you are strong.
Strength does not mean you will cease to feel the pains of life. Instead, it means you will be able to continue on, even when the winds beat mercilessly. Strength means you will keep an even head and continue to act wisely. You will still do what is right. You will still make smart decisions. Because you are strong.
Eventually the whirlwind will stop. You will look back at the life you built during the storm and you will see that, now, you are stronger than you ever were before.
My experience was not so different than yours, I would guess. I can remember my father calling from work, asking if we had turned on the TV today. His voice was steady, but worried. Very worried.
I can remember the words slipping across the bottom of the TV as news anchors talked rapidly. ‘US Under Attack’, it read. Is this for real? Could we actually be under attack? The thought of enemies coming here, onto our land, to kill us was strange and hard for me to wrap my thoughts around.
My father came home from work early that day. When the news reporters started filming people jumping out of the towers to avoid burning to death, my parents turned the TV off. It has too hard to watch, too sad.
Then came the flags. Up and down the streets they stood. Tall, brave and strong. We are America, they said to me, We have been through much, but we are still the United States.
I was sad again when they took the flags down, and I think back to those days often. I think back to fields and front yards burning a brilliant red, white, and blue. We are unique individuals, all of us, and as different as the colors red, white, and blue are themselves. But the beauty is that through our uniqueness we build each other up. We continued the legacy of our flag. We are different, but sewn together in an inspiring display of courage and strength. It is how we remain the United States. After all, the old adage still remains true.
United we Stand.
Actions are powerful things. They clearly show to us who we are – what we see as important. Our actions stand as a confirmation of what we believe. For good or for bad, our actions tell the story of what we treasure and who we have become thus far.
Actions are powerful for a second reason as well. Because actions not only show us who we are, actions are how we change who we are. Whether it is work, being with family, spending time alone, or serving the community what we are repeatedly doing is shaping who we be tomorrow. There is nothing we do that does not affect who we are becoming.
By looking at what I do, I understand who I am. By consistently altering what I do, I can predictably alter who I will be.
People are great. I mean, we’re a little rough around the edges, but on the whole we’re a pretty awesome group of beings.
For example, when I’m pregnant I’m always pleasantly surprised by how nice people are. Perhaps they’re concerned that I’ll burst into tears or start screaming insults like a banshee at any moment. And let’s be real, there are times when those things happen.
Still, most of the time I’m not looking for sympathy or assistance and people just pop out of the wood work with hands ready to help. They ask if they should close the door, so that I don’t get too cold. They offer me their chair saying it’s softer than mine (okay, this one I totally appreciate). Or they ask if they can get me a chair, so I don’t have to stand. The list just goes on and on.
All the offers are really so very sweet, and though I don’t normally need or accept the help, it still makes me smile. It’s such a treat to glimpse people at their best. You see, even though we do all need a little work, we are all pretty awesome, too.