Retro Thursday 4-29-2021

What does it mean to be strong?

What does it mean to be strong? There are many kinds of strength. Physical strength. Mental strength. Psychological strength. Strength in math or writing or baseball. We all know what strength means, or do we?

The Dictionary defines strength as:

1the quality or state of being strong: capacity for exertion or endurance

2power to resist force: solidity, toughness

3power of resisting attack:

4legal, logical, or moral force;

5: strong attribute or inherent asset

6degree of potency of effect or of concentration (chili peppers in varying strengths) intensity of light, color, sound, or odor; vigor of expression; force as measured in numberseffective numbers of anybody or organization (an army at full strength).

7one regarded as embodying or affording force or firmness

8maintenance of or a rising tendency in a price levelfirmness of prices (the strength of the dollar).

9: basis—used in the phrase on the strength of (from strength to strength); vigorously forwardfrom one high point to the next.

Strength is inundated into our very being. We are expected to be strong, men and women both. Weakness is not tolerated in this world of succeed or fail.

The strength of our leaders, whether political, clerical, movie stars or sports heroes, has been transformed over the years. Men and women in positions of strength, whether mental or physical, are falling to weaknesses like wood into a chipper. Most people can name at least ten, probably twenty or more, leaders who have fallen from grace. Strength has come to mean invulnerability to many of those in positions of strength.

They are no more immune to attack and destruction than anybody else in this world. They are just better at pretending. There is no strength without weakness. Weakness is the ability to bend but not break. We all need to be strong and weak in equal measure. Those in power who feel that they cannot be torn down are broken because they refuse to bend.

Light cannot be strong without comparison with dimness. A chili pepper can’t be hot without the comparison of mild. An army can’t be strong if they are never willing to bend and fight another day. Phalanxes which fight to the death look impressive, but when the battleground is layered with bodies, what then? Was their strength well used?

One can’t be strong without having been weak. Otherwise, how would know you were strong? Currency can’t be strong without also being weak, even if we’d prefer it not weaken. One cannot go from strength to strength without first having been weak.

I hope that what we are seeing is a revolution against those who hold all the strength, those men and woman who wield strength to benefit them, not those who watch them or elected them or pay their salaries. Those people who think the rules and laws, not of nations, but of humanity, don’t apply to them.

In order for all of humanity to be strong, we must all be strong and weak. There is no strength in millions of people starving or having no safe place to live, no safe water or food, the security of knowing they are safe from the strength of those who would destroy them. Millions of tribesman murdered because they belong to the ‘wrong’ tribe. Strength?

Children bought and sold. Strength?

A finger on the Red Button? Strength?

Torturing an animal? Strength?

No to all the above, but many people will think strength.

This world will not survive on strength alone, no matter what definition you give to the word. So when you think about strength, remember that weakness can be as powerful as strength. Make sure you learn to be weak in order to be strong.

This Is What I Think 3-19-2021

“I am not what you think I am. You are what you think I am.”

When I first read this quote I was like “Yes!” I felt vindicated for all the times I thought people were judging me. But then I read it again. And again. And again.

If “I am not what you think I am. You are what you think I am,” then You are not what I think you are. I am what I think you are.

I was instantly not happy when I realized that whatever I put to ‘them’ also came back on me. I know the sentiment, the four fingers pointing back when you point at somebody else, but what I wanted was a way to justify my feeling of being judged. And a way to make the judge in the wrong. What better statement than this? You are what you think I am. It puts the whole blame? implications? back on the one judging me.

But it isn’t that clear and easy as I’m sure some of you knew instantly. And it comes down to the statement that we judge each other for the un-liked and unkind parts of us we see in them. Another statement which, on the surface, doesn’t make me happy.

Face it, I wanted to clear way to judge my judgers. The truth is, however, while they are judging me for the parts of themselves they see in me, I am doing the same back.

I’ve been wrangling with the sentiment ever since. It made me step back and look at how I am judging other people and how I am assuming they are judging me. Maybe they aren’t judging me; maybe I’m judging myself through their eyes. Either way, I have to come to terms with my own judgements. I am having to step back when I do judge and ask myself if I am what I am judging them for.

“I am not what you think I am. You are what you think I am.”

How does this statement fit into your life?