Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thoughts on Being Strong...

What does being strong even mean? 

I used to think that being strong meant dealing with problems with as little help as possible.    As I've aged though, I see that true strength is so much more than that.  True strength is meeting your problems head-on,  relying on God, accepting the help you need, and putting one foot in front of the other day-after-day-after-day-after-crappy-day....through the pain, the tears, and the heartache.  Although putting one foot in front of the other isn't all that glamorous, and certainly doesn't feel like flexing our strength, but it's what propels us forward. 

I've heard the well-meaning phrase, "You're so strong," spoken to me countless times since Spencer's diagnosis and yet even after nearly 2 months, I still never know quite what to say in response.    Denying it or trying to express how I feel about it, usually ends up in an embarrassing stumble on words.  Giving credit to God or our magnificent support system is apt, but usually a little heavy for these conversations, which often occur in fleeting moments.   So usually I simply say,  "Thank you,"  blush a little, and wish that I was better at verbally expressing what is in my heart.   

Our family's current bout with adversity is of the very public life-and-death sort, but I see people all around me struggling just as mightily as us with their more garden variety trials.  I don't use the term "garden variety" to diminish the impact those trials have on their lives, but rather that what they are going through is perhaps less noted by the outside world than a child having cancer.    I have friends with young children whose husbands are deployed overseas for several months at a time.  And others that struggle with crippling anxiety or depression.  I know people who have their own chronic health issues, where they wake up each day and hope that today is a day they feel okay.  And others who are raising kids with time-consuming special needs.  Still other friends are struggling with their marriages.  And others are still healing from past hurts.   These struggles may be lesser known or sometimes completely hidden from other people,  but I believe require every bit the day-to-day mettle to overcome.  Maybe even more so, because they may be facing their own living hells in a much lonelier fashion than we are. 

Not to oversimplify the trials of life, but I firmly believe that God will not ever heap upon us more than we can bear and we know we are strong enough to endure simply because we're facing it.   
What is strength?  Strength is inside of each of us.


  • Spence has been prescribed an appetite stimulant to try to get him to beef up while he's feeling good.  Weirdly, they had to check and make sure he wasn't allergic to marijuana before giving it to him.  
  • ANC is still 0, but, like yesterday, other aspects of the blood are moving in the right direction!  If all goes well, we're hoping for a trip home sometime next week!  
  • We're touring the National Children's Medical Center's transplant wing tomorrow. 

"It is often in the trial of adversity that we learn those most critical lessons that form our character and shape our destiny."
                                                                                                                               --Dieter F. Uchtdorf


K said...

LOVE this post! It is excellent, thoughtful, and highly appreciated! You are an amazing woman and I'm glad you understand what it means to be "strong"! I would also like to add that I love how you see the positive in everything that has happened.

annalisa said...

Thanks for the cry this morning.

I am glad Spence might be coming home next week. Yay!

Michelle said...

Wow. You have summed it up so much better than I ever could. We all have our own trials, and some are just more public than others. My heart weeps for your family struggling with cancer. And for your very young son who has it. And yet, I know every one of my friends struggles with something that's hard for them as well. So glad that Spencer will be able to go home soon.... My prayers are with you and your family!

Deanne said...

Very well said. I appreciate your thoughts on this and wish I could express my feelings in writing as well as you.

When both of my parents died at relatively young ages within a 2 year span, I heard a lot of similar comments, but I think we just get through what we have to. None of us know what we're capable of until we are challenged. We all have our own trials. With that said, my heart still goes out to you and your family. You are a wonderful example of having strong faith amidst adversity. Love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Lara, your words are so true and ring in the hearts of all those who have been touched by your family. A friend added once to the very phrase at the end of this blog that God ensures that we have a source of help around us as He knowingly allows us to go through the difficult times. We continue to pray for your family and will always hold you dear to our hearts,

Annette said...

I think there is a relationship between strength and humility. Perhaps not in the way that the world views it: humility is weakness which is definitely not strength. I think that as we are humble and submissive we find more strength, or better yet, the source of our strength. I get a sense that you know this better than I do, having a hands on experience with it.

Katie said...

I'm so grateful for your perspetive Lara. Your example really has strengthened my faith in the hope, and even happiness, that can exist amidst our trials.

Heidi said...

I love that "strong" quote. It's so true!

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