Being strong is not about how much you can lift. Its not about bragging on social media about what you can do. Its not about lifting more than someone else.

Being strong is an attitude.

I was walking across the parking lot just now. The sun is just now beaming down onto my back with that early morning smell of thick moisture. But as I walk, I can feel purchase with my feet. I have to wear shoes for work, but if I were barefoot, its as if I was a lion clawing with each step. Its not just ambulating or moving forward. Its more of a pulling at the Earth’s surface and all its mass. I can feel it in my feet, my hips, my back. My shoulders roll back and I stand taller. The computer bag strapped over my shoulder is weightless. It could be 5 pounds or 50 and it wouldn’t matter. My senses are hyper aware. I know what’s behind me without looking. In my peripheral vision, I am keen to the bird 100 feet up on an antenna. Yet I can see the worker illegally smoking next to paint cans at the shop. I sniff to confirm the smoke but the thick air is slowing moving away from me to the West. I see the angle of the sun and from whence it rose. Last night, instead of the sun setting due West at 270 degrees, I noticed it was more like 300 degrees West-Northwest and I wondered why. It was a New Moon and funny things happen then. But this awareness gives me strength.

So many of us bobble head our way through life. I read that most people have lapses in time in their daily rigor. They drive to work but forget everything about the drive. They didn’t notice anything special. But there is something special in everything. They didn’t see the person smile at them as they walked by. They didn’t notice the line of ants busily doing their work without much reward other than a job well done. They didn’t notice the chicory along the highway and wondered what that would taste like in tea or Cafe Au Lait. The latter whisks me back to a muggy morning in New Orleans with the sounds from a rusty old trumpet along the street. Every sight and sound connects me with a memory. But if we aren’t aware of all the things of life, we’ll miss out on that strength. The strength in connecting. We plug into the tunnel vision of our smartphone. We put blinders on to what is around us. And we miss all the syrupy goodness of life.

Strength is confidence. Strength is resolve. Its knowing that you can defend yourself with extreme prejudice, but instead you turn the other cheek and walk away. Strength is in your voice that speaks confident truth. It doesn’t make excuses or find a scapegoat to send into the desert with the lies you tell yourself. Strength is knowing you lay your head on your pillow at the end of the day and know that not a single minute was wasted. You are conscious of your surroundings and become one with the eclipse of the moon.

Strength is seeing something and knowing you can pick it up. It may be a boulder on your neighbor’s lawn. It could be a steel vice that blocks your path at work. Without thinking about the mechanics of the lift or the potential damage a cold lift can do, you just know its possible. You don’t have to lift it, not even for yourself. And you don’t have to take a picture or yell to everyone to gather around. You just know.

That’s the strength of a grown man. The strength of a mother. The strength of the Veteran lying on his death bed. Its the strength that they know they’ve fought the good fight. And as a new day dawns, the next fight is around the corner. But the calm, silent warrior in all of us errs on the side of strength. It doesn’t flame social media posts to better their opponent. That is only cowardice. Instead, strength crouches in the shadow like a catapult on an aircraft carrier. Strength says that I know my character. And I have nothing to prove anyone. I hold it for when its important. And then I do my best with strength.

Be strong my friends.

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