Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Strong When You Have To Be....

For the longest time I never thought of myself as a strong person. There are times now that I don't see myself as strong. There were times in my life when I felt so fragile and vulnerable, and it was at those times that I wondered if I would make it through whatever storm I was going through at that time. And then on August 1, 2011, I was hit with what may the equivalent of an F5 tornado. I was told I had cancer.  Here I was, 39 years old, recently married, a five year old daughter at the time, and I was diagnosed with cancer. Let me tell you...if there was a time that I ever felt fragile and vulnerable, this was the time! The initial shock was pretty overwhelming. Of course my wife and I were trying to make sense of it all, but in reality we couldn't. But then a strange thing happened. After a couple of days, after the first few waves of emotion had passed, and after living with and accepting the news for a few days, there was a calmness that overcame me. Sure there was still many uncertainties that we would face, there were still struggles and hardships that we have to face in the months to come, but deep inside my spirit, I knew that we would be okay and the this was just another storm to go through. As a matter of fact, one of my mantras was, "This is just a bump in the road that we will get over!"

Maybe that's the thing about inner strength....maybe we really don't know what kind of strength we possess until we have to rely on that strength in order to survive. I can look back now and tell myself, "Yea...I guess I was strong when I needed to be." But at that time, it really had nothing to do with deliberately telling myself that I had to be strong. I think much of it had to do with survival and knowing that I had to fight the "C" monster! There was no room for negative thinking...there was no room for being overwhelmed with emotions....there was no time for feeling sorry for myself. All of those kind of thoughts had no room in my plans of kicking the monkey on my back square in the face and telling him to leave me alone!

Even though I had my fight with cancer and I was blessed with being able to overcome it, there are many people out there who face their own struggles but yet aren't acknowledged for it. The single parent trying to be both mom and dad all while providing for that child and trying to make ends meet. What about the elderly people who are put into nursing homes and no one goes to visit them? Then there are people who may see like they have their life together, but secretly they are battling their own demons. The thing that all these people have in common is that they go on day after day and continue to overcome their challenges in life. They may not be aware of it, but their inner strength is constantly being displayed.

So when you think that you aren't strong enough to get through life's everyday challenges. When you feel like life is getting the best of you. Remember that YOU have that inner strength inside of you too! Take any challenge that life throws at you and KNOW that you can overcome it.You really are stronger than you think you are and when you get over that mountain of uncertainty, you can look back at tell yourself, "Yea...I did it!!"

(Now of course, I couldn't have had the inner strength without support! First and foremost, all thanks and Glory has to go to my Heavenly Father who continued to watch over me, protect me and strengthened me throughout the fight. Next, my loving wife and daughter who were constantly by my side. My mom, my three sisters and my brother and their families were also there for me, in addition to all my other family members.  The countless prayers and support from both dear friends and even strangers also helped me fight! Without this constant support team, I could not have had the inner strength to endure.)