The importance of strength comes more from its origin than its definition

What is strength? I use the word frequently. It is in my blog tagline and pops up regularly in my blog text, but, what of the word? Do we use the word correctly? Do we even have a good handle on what it means?

One definition is “the “quality or state of being strong”, while another goes like this, “a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing”. It would appear I’ve been using the word according to these definitions. So, I got to thinking about it. Do any of us really think about such words as we’re using them?

Do You?

When I started thinking about what strength means, I looked around me. I saw my beautiful, old-fashioned yellow roses standing up straight and tall in the scorching July sun. They must be strong. They must have strength. Then, I saw the beautiful living room furniture my dear, late husband, Kent, made with his own two hands. There the tables stand, straight as can be, no matter what I pile on them. Is it the wood that has strength? Or, perhaps, it’s the way the wood pieces are positioned at right angles that gives the tables strength. Or, maybe, is it the love flowing through their craftsman’s hands and into the finished piece that provides the strength? The crafter knowing that, filled with the strength of his love and artistry, these pieces would live on past his earthly life to give me pleasure and memories long into the future. The strength of his love flowed from his heart, through his hands into the wood to keep the pieces together. How strong those pieces are to hold up the countless cookbooks and magazines I’m addicted to, often much too heavy for one person to carry. Yet, just like his love, which never once buckled under pressure, these tables stand tall, pitting their strength against the enormous pressure of the books’ weight.

What about you? Is there something or someone in your life that displays a strength you find hard to put into words? Tell me about it in the comments section. I’d love to hear about such strength that marvels you!

Yet another example of strength – Following Kent’s second lung cancer surgery, I took a brief break from his bedside to get some fresh air. In the front area of the QEII Hospital VG site there are gardens and green areas with benches. The sun was shining brightly that summer’s day. You could hear the spray from the nozzles of the hoses as the gardeners watered the plants. In the background was the distinctive buzz of a weed trimmer. All fairly normal daily sounds. It was amongst this “normality” outside that I chose to take a break from everything inside. As I headed to a bench, following a paved path, looking down, I spotted THE pinkest flower peeking out through the asphalt (I remember it had five little petals), there was not much of a stem growing and no leaves and it didn’t even seem to be growing out of a crack! It was like that little pink flower poked its head through to the sunlight, just to reassure me everything would be all right. Now, that must be strength. I sat on the bench and pondered that flower’s meaning to me. How had it managed to survive the milieu of people surrounding it? Why had some little girl not spied it and picked it for herself? It somehow gave me the strength I needed to go back to my Love’s side, armed with a medium double-double and Boston Cream Pie! I recounted my story to Kent and he looked up with that smile that made his eyes twinkle and said, “You know I’m going to be okay.” So steadfast, so certain was his tone, I believed him and he was right and was released within the week! Maybe, that is strength. Maybe, I’ve been searching for the real definition of strength and it’s been right in front of me all the time!!

Sandra M. Meersflower struggles to survive


About sandrastandingtall

I was the little, curly-haired redhead who dreamed of a pair of red shoes… shiny, red, patent leather slip-ons with a small black heel and a gleaming gold buckle on top. The shoes caught my eye from the window of the shoe store our family frequented and were a huge departure from the requisite, dull, ugly, brown, lace-up Bobby Browns my sister and I were made to wear because “they are good for your feet”. I finally won the red shoes battle which would became a sort-of metaphor for the many battles I would fight in my life. The battle to find a job after graduating high school in an over-crowded employment market led me to study for, and receive, my Real Estate license, resulting in a sponsorship and job with a local broker. Following three years of University, the job market had improved little. However, a close friend and editor saw some talent in my writing and offered me a position with her newspaper, as junior reporter, which I parlayed into ad sales and promotion writing and learning every aspect of the pre- desktop publishing industry. The twists and turns of young adult life did not see me married with eight children, living a “back-to-the-earth” life in Canada’s North as I had anticipated in the many years previous. Instead, I found myself following my mentor’s lead, making a career in the community newspaper industry, taking on the Editorship of two of the same company’s small-town papers. That brings my life to present-day, living a quiet life in a small, rural farming community on Canada’s Atlantic coast, playing Grandmother to three amazing little boys, having battled a severe stroke which ended concurrent careers as an Election Returning officer, and as a Customer Service Rep for a large communications company. That battle, close to complete, has lead me back to my first love – writing.
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2 Responses to The importance of strength comes more from its origin than its definition

  1. Alnoor says:

    Wonderful article Sandra!
    Strength comes in many forms and we find it in various places at different times.
    It is commendable how you recognized Kent’s strength in his craft, as well as in the lonesome tenacious flower in the asphalt.

    Only a person of strength finds strength in the least obvious place.

    My source of strength have always been my mother and grandmother.
    Their tenacity, steadfastness, kindness, generosity even in times of need, capacity to love and forgive and always being content, has always inspired me.

    It is through the people who are or have been in our lives that we learn to have strength.
    We are all sent such awe inspiring people.
    To recognize and follow in their footsteps is an ability which requires thought and desire that is not so common.
    It is through these teachers and guides that we learn to have mental and spiritual strength despite our life’s ‘dis-ease’.

    There are times when I am overwhelmed be the negative.
    Thank you for reminding me to look for and find strength in unusual and strange places and to recognize the strengths that I have been given and may have forgotten, ignored or overlooked.

    • Alnoor, my dear friend, thank you for that awe-inspiring comment. After meeting her, I can see how your mother has been a source of your strength. I was so happy to meet her! You, my dear man inspire strength in me!! I’m finding it hard to reply, with tears blurring my sight and gratefulness at knowing you bursting in my heart! Thank you, Alnoor!

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