A couple weeks ago, I walked out of a veterinarian office with an injured small dog in my arms. Since I adopted her about seven years ago, my little “alpha” dog had been relatively healthy and independent so this was new for both of us. Unfortunately, this particular injury temporarily took away her ability to walk. As a result, she has been relying on me for transportation among other things while she recovers. I have tenderly observed through all of this that being weak and dependent is difficult for her; this experience relentlessly goes against her natural instincts. Even though she obviously can’t vocalize it, I can definitely sense how hard it is for her to accept her powerlessness. As humans, I think we can all somewhat relate to this struggle.
Being helpless and exposed is hard. It’s not a comfortable existence and it’s probably something we don’t wake up and strive towards each day. We just don’t want to make room for it. Subsequently, we can build up walls and even inflate our ego. We become proud that we don’t need anyone to get by and relieved that we don’t have to deal with the awkward emotional challenges that come with it.
But then, the inevitable happens: hard stuff comes along out of nowhere. Life doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy anymore, and we may even find ourselves injured, unable to walk.
It is in this brokenness that the fog clears and we begin to visibly see that there are bigger things in life than our own personal greatness. Our feebleness teaches us that we need others–to build us up again, to make us strong, to comfort and encourage us. In short, we give others and ourselves an amazing gift: the opportunity to love.
This life-giving lesson is intoxicating to the human spirit. Our mind and heart expand. We grow and evolve into a better person, humbly accepting our limits. We witness very genuine people stepping up to help us get through. We may even suddenly be open to relationships that we had been denying beforehand. Respectively, we get the clarity we need to start living more for the things in this world that are larger and more long-lasting than ourselves–like goodness, beauty, legacy and, of course, love.
Next time we find ourselves defeated, we would be wise to just be open to it. It’s strange, but it’s true. We find determination in our struggles, perseverance in our challenges, peace in our vulnerability and, undoubtedly, strength in our weaknesses.
By Stephanie Corder
Stephanie is the Director of Creative & Digital Content for Families of Character