30 06 2007

 Sean wrote an open-ended post asking what strength really is. Feeling inspired, and finally having some free time, I shall attempt to thrash out this all important question.

First things first- What does the anointed dictionary say? (for more info on the anointed dictionary ask Father Smith)

On opening up to “strength” I have realized that there are 13 definitions (!).  Excerpts follow:

2. Mental power, force or vigor

3. moral power, firmness or courage

11. Something or someone that is a source of power or encouragement

And, most markedly:

13. Strength is inherenct capacity to manifest energy, to endure, and to resist. Power is capacity to do work and to act. Force is the exercise of power: One has the power to do something. He exerts force when he does it. He has sufficient strength to complete it.

Now let us pause and think about this…

Let me stress that nowhere in the above definitions, nor in any of those which I left out, does the dictionary mention anything about the ability to lay someone out with a good left hook. Now either Ghandhi, the dictionary, Jesus AND Martin Luther King Jr. got it wrong or we as Americans have an extraordinarily warped sense of strength. Heck, even Bruce Lee would have told you that brute strength gets you nowhere.

And think about it in your own life. When have you felt the greatest inner sense of strength, or most realized your true weakness? When you were contending over something, yes? When I give in and let myself make choices or do things that I know are wrong my soul feels like a cooked noodle. It doesn’t hurt but there is no strength there.

It’s when I’ve been flattened out by the obstacles and the struggle that I can really feel my potential strength. That is not to say that I always live up to that potential… I would say that I rarely do. However, it is a power that I can sense only when I’m fighting for my soul. It’s when we give up and give in that our spirits get all limp.

Soldiers run with 40lb packs up mountains for a reason. Physical therapists make people who’ve suffered injury exercise. Regular therapists talk over traumatic experiences with their patients. Boxers jump rope for hours and dancers balance on exercise balls while lifting weights. There is a purposefulness to the aquiring of strength. One simply does not become strong by accident. (Unless, of course you are Mogli and you happen to be raised by wolves in the jungles of India. But really, how many of you can use THAT as an excuse?!)

So lets face our demons and wrestle with the angels! Better than a life of wet-noodle souls. Don’t you agree?




One response

2 07 2007
Jennifer James

Here here! Three cheers for the enlightened one!
You should come and hang out in my nook of goodness. It is my comfy chair, a bedside table with lamp, all my art supplies, teaching cd’s, fav books, fav light and fav blankets and pillows. I shall post pic soon!

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