This We Believe

Separated by Differences, United by Beliefs

The strength of the heart is strongest

on February 23, 2015

I believe that inner strength can influence all strength.

This thought didn’t come to me easily, as being 5’9 and weighing 120 lbs. isn’t anyone’s definition of strength. But strength comes from both the outside and inside.

The day I figured out this strength was not a happy one. My mother was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) in 2002. As with most neurological disorders, she got worse over time and needed to take more medications than I have fingers. As time went by, she was more prone to seizures, heart murmurs, and constant pain that could only be treated by the meds. The medications also became strong enough to knock her out for hours.

One cloudy day, I hear a thud in the next room. My mother’s fallen and begun to seize. She is weeping, her fingers seizing into inhuman shapes, and her legs, back, and spine being forced into a fetal position.

At this point, most people would call for help or run away, not knowing what to do next. But I knew that no ambulance would be able to help her. I knew that they couldn’t cure what she had. I simply knelt beside her, and started to gently pull her fingers into an open palm, letting her tightly grasp my fingers. Through my hands being flattened by hers, I knew for a brief instant what it must truly be like. My mind knew how to treat her. My emotions and my mind separated. I regulated my breathing, and she knew that she must do the same. In. Out. In. Out. I feel her body relax. I reach over to her pill tray, with a nearby water bottle. She took her pills. Her mind and body relaxes, knowing that she’ll be ok. She breathes and smiles in relief though the tears. My heart slows. She wants to get up, but the pills work quickly. Her eyes half close, and a 150 lbs. woman becomes a dead weight in my arms. She needed rest. She needed to go to her bed.

My arms tense up. My back becomes like steel. My face becomes tight. I wrap her arms about my neck and heave upwards. Each step brings a bigger grunt and wave of sweat. I groan through gritted teeth, blinded by the sweat. My hair is drenched. I’m beside the bed now, and with a final heave, I gently lay my mother on the bed. I’m on the floor, my muscles cramping. I drag myself to the fridge for a drink of water.

Indeed I was strong that day, because I used what strength was in me. All my life, I heard that I “need to lift,” or “become stronger.” But I now know the difference. I know that all the lifting and training in the world won’t cause someone to be able to carry a sick loved one who is a quarter of their weight heavier than themselves. Weights can’t teach care and love, the heart does. And when people use their heart, a greater strength than any comes out of it. All people, including you, have an inner strength like this. All you need do is tap into it and use it.


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