What Makes a Strong Person?

I just saw a quote on Facebook:

I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.

I hadn’t thought of that, but I agree. Do you?

I think I am a pretty strong person. And, trust me, my past (and even my present) have been anything but easy.

The way I see it, we have two ways we can approach a problem:

  1. Face it head-on. Get through it. Get past it. Live.
  2. Hide your head. Mope. Complain. Get angry. Flounder. Forever.
I’ve known people who choose number two. They seem to derive some sort of strange pleasure out of being downtrodden. It at least seems as if they hope everyone will feel sorry for them.
In years past, I had more patience with those who never look on the bright side of life than I do now. It seems like my cancer diagnosis took away my patience for putting up with people who refuse to be happy.
Because, it is a choice.
I don’t understand why a person wouldn’t choose happiness. Others want to be around those who smile and laugh and enjoy life. But, that’s not the reason I choose to be happy. For me, if I can’t be happy, joyful, hopeful … then life is really not worth living.
And, that’s an important thing to consider.
So many people I come into contact with are living their cancer. Every hour, every day, every week – cancer takes precedence over everything else in their lives. They hurt. They feel sick. They are dying. Their family doesn’t want to be around them. The sky is black. The earth is black. Their world is dark. And miserable.
My personal opinion is that if I am just muddling through dark clouds every single day, I am surviving, but I am not living. I have no desire to muddle. I have every desire to live. Really live.

 

 

My favorite flowers are yellow. I don’t know why, but they always make me really happy. Just seeing them makes me smile. The ones above are growing and blooming in January. When most everything else is dead or dormant, these flowers are flourishing.
I want to be like these flowers! Overcoming adversity and coming out of it strong!
For me, cancer is part of my life. It is something with which I must coexist. I know that someday it may take my life. But, until it does, it is not going to rob me of the days I have.
So… a strong person. We’ve been through fire. We’ve been tempered. And yes. We come out stronger.
Tonight I was discussing a football player with a friend. His name is Johnny Manziel. Johnny Football. He is a troubled young man who happens to also be a good football player. But, his personal troubles seem to be overriding his football playing, despite the fact that he won the Heisman Trophy a few years ago.
Despite his talents on the football field, his career seems uncertain. Currently, it seems no NFL team is willing to take a gamble on him. He’s a powder keg.
And, then there’s our Affluence teen. This kid, Ethan Couch, killed several people when he drove drunk. He got off with a slap on the wrist on the defense that he was so rich that he didn’t learn right from wrong. You never see a picture of the kid where he is smiling. No, he always has a scowl on his face. A tough thug. The world was his playground, but his personal problems seem nearly insurmountable.  If he doesn’t end up in jail or prison, I will be very surprised.
These are people who seem to have everything going for them. And  yet, they are miserable. They are weak. They’ve not been through the fire. (Though the direction they are headed might lead them to the fire, if they’re mentally strong enough to get through it alive.)
When I think of strength, for some reason, a picture of a blacksmith comes to my mind. Bent over an anvil, beating and bending a red-hot piece of iron, forging it into something useful. We, as humans, need to go through the fire to become strong.
Generally, I don’t dwell on the trials and tribulations I’ve been through. I just try to get through them and come out on the other side, still smiling.
I won’t outline the adversities here that have tempered me into the person I am today. But, I can say that each and every one of them have joined together to make me who I am today. And, I wouldn’t trade those experiences, even if I was miserable for awhile as I made my way through them.
Through it all, there is a Bible verse that stays with me. Perhaps it is my favorite. It is certainly one I rely on a lot.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 

This I believe with all of my heart. And it is a promise I rely upon every day of my life. I might not understand the whys, but it doesn’t matter. God knows why. That’s all I really need to know.

 

 

 

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