You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. …Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart...
-John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America
At this juncture in life, at a time full of pain and loss and with the world in chaos, we are grateful. And we feel a duty to live affirmatively: to review, to understand, to honor and build on the progress made by our parents, their parents and others; often through pain, sacrifice and struggle. They were so strong— physically, mentally and emotionally—with a grit and determination. Strong in order to survive, and strong to stubbornly seed change.
Ask the kids what it means to be strong and they say it’s about working hard with your body but also withstanding hardship in order to help others. And it can take everything to just withstand, to stay standing, to give a chance to those who come next…for generations to come. This is a strength so easily overlooked, dismissed, misunderstood and forgotten. This is the gift of strength that comes with an opportunity; a perfect and selfless hand-off. A rooting and grounding strength that signals us to study and learn. A humble demonstration of strength that motivates.
And then, there is that quiet, determined and protective strength that continues to give and give across life and time. Strength that comes from worry, pride, and celebration; that is fed by being part of a family, the human family. Strength that gives us confidence to act courageously, take risks, and build toward better. A strength that lends trust to balance doubt. This is strength founded in love that will never run out, that should be administered generously, brandished vigorously and used to fill the air with gritty, obstinate, acts of love.
I am strong. We are strong together. Unconquerable love fuels this strength.