Strength

Today I’m thinking of the phrase, “It’s always greener on the other side of the fence” but is it?  As I look across my fence, I see a lot of deadened gardens; friends or family that are suffering or in pain.  Watching a child suffer from mental illness and dealing with the behavioral backlash on a daily basis, being an athlete then losing your physical abilities to illness, losing a child shortly after birth, or the death of a young husband.  As I sit listening to their stories, on the surface I feel blessed for my own life, seeing that my struggles are just pebbles in my shoe.  But even moreso, I am entirely amazed with their power to overcome. The news comes on, and I hear worse tragedies of a child being raped by a family member, incomprehensible accounts of abuse to women and children or tales of villages being ransacked by soldiers leaving children as orphans without homes.  It is unfathomable to me how these people live through this pain and suffering, wondering if in the same shoes I’d ever be able to survive it.   How they can possibly move through it day to day and rise above it.  Personally they might not be progressing in a manner that they’d hope, but they steadfastly move forward all the same.

And then I look back at some of my own struggles in the past, though merely a mouse in comparison to their monsters, and I see that somehow we *do* rise to what life calls forth to break us.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.” ~Phillipians 4:13.  I’ve always loved this quote as I believe it with all my heart, but now I’d also include through   Budda, or the Universe, or Mother Earth, or even if you have no namable God, leaning on the strength you recognize in a friend – as I believe God exists in us all.  One thing I truly believe with all my heart, is that if we lean or reach out to this Higher Power, all will be well in the end.  “And if it’s not well, it’s not the end!”

In others’ stories, I hear their shame for their tears or anguish or curses.  For some strange reason, while experiencing pain we’d like to think that we can do it without complaining, or crying out, or just being downright flippin’ angry.  Or when we’re faced with the monster, that we won’t feel petrified, shaking in our boots as we shoot our arrows.  But I’ve come to accept that feelings are a normal and healthy process in the journey; it doesn’t define our strength or bravery.  Our actions, our ability to move forward despite the doom, is a more accurate defining moment.

They say we’re only given what we can handle – which again, has me quivering in my skivvies in fear of what I might be thrown.  But I emphatically believe we rise up to meet what we have to.  We all have the power, the resilence if we look to that Source.  Learning and gaining much on the way.  We really don’t know our own power….it’s there when we ask for it, if only for that moment or the day.  It’s there.

Yes, our cup runneth over; sometimes overwhelmingly so.  Doesn’t it seem sometimes like ALL the shit hits the fan at once?  Like you can’t possibly handle it all at once, never good enough with it all coming at you like an automatic air gun?  I trust that you catch what you’re supposed to catch at the time; the remainder will come back around if you need to address it later.

So I say a prayer of gratitude and also a prayer of awareness to my dear friends who are in pain — you don’t realize your own strength.  You have power beyond measure.  Keep leaning.  You can do all things through the Holy One who strengthens YOU.

I have faith in us.

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