Think of steel. Cement. Brick. Diamonds. All images of things we identify with strength. Objects for sure. But how about people? What makes someone strong?
Youth would immediately answer that strong people can lift heavy weights. They go to the gym and can run for miles. They are so right (in one aspect), especially when you look back as you grow older.
But what makes someone strong as they confront life’s challenges throughout each day? The stresses, the obstacles, the disappointments, the setbacks, the frustrations? These seem to be present more than we would like.
The strong people I have encountered in my life are steady. They seem to not melt when trouble appears. They don’t feel the need to create long stories when telling others but rather use short sentences that show clarity but not hopelessness.
Strong people are optimists. Understanding that things are temporary, they continue to live each day out waiting to see how things will turn or subside. They stay involved and never surrender.
Strong people are patient. They don’t give up. They never feel singled out. And they don’t wear their heart on their sleeves. They continue to persevere. They continue to endure.
Strong people never hide. They don’t “shut down”. Their routines don’t change. They remain consistent in how they interact with others. Their manner never changes. Their friendships don’t collapse. They embrace their close friends for comfort.
Strong people accept life’s challenges. They understand that some will change, others resolve themselves, while some may not. God and their faith become their anchor and rock from which they never waver. They believe deeply “Thy will be done”.
Strong people never feel helpless. While they don’t always have control, they understand that the control they have is over themselves and how they look at things. They have the ability to separate their problems from what they are doing at the moment.
Strong people have a presence about them that becomes comforting to others. Not in the words said but in the words not said when they give a hug or fill our life with someone who will just listen. Seldom do strong people reveal that they too have their own challenges to work through in their lives.
Strong people hurt. Just like you and I do. They just seem to handle it better.
All of us are asked by life to be strong at times. Sometimes we are and sometimes we are not. We never quite know until we are there how we will respond. All of this is ok, knowing not only we are human, but that in spite of our challenges, we have the same opportunity to grow and develop in positive ways by the attitude and consistency we bring to each new day.