The Face of Strength


One day, I was whining to myself about how much I have on my plate and feeling overwhelmed.  Hubby S got struck down by Hepatitis A and was hospitalized.  My Son A and one of our helpers got stomach flu and fever.  Two of my managers in work are out for months due to health issues.   My baby is still breastfeeding and am still low on sleep.  I’m feeling fat and sorry for myself.

Woe is me.

I didn’t have much time to wallow because soon, I got a startling wake up call.

I got a call that one of my closest friends is sick with cancer.  I felt tears spring to my eyes.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for her.  She has small children.  She is so young.  I was thinking to myself, if I were in her place, I would crumble.  Just a few minutes ago I was whining about what now seems inconsequential in comparison.  I can’t even handle small problems without feeling sorry for myself.  Shame washed over me.

I wanted to give her a hug.  My parents kindly gave me a crucifix and rosary that was purchased and blessed in the Holy Land to give to my friend.  I sent them to her right away in the hopes that it will give her some small comfort.

We met a few days later.  My friend looked and acted like there’s nothing wrong.  She was smiling and laughing with us.  She didn’t even look half as harassed as I did.  She is still beautiful and stoic and she candidly talked about her upcoming surgery like she was talking about a new job.

She was talking about drinking herbal remedies on top of the more traditional medicine and she happily showed me her herbal drinks in a small portable thermos.

I looked at her in absolute wonder.  She’s so strong.

I had a chance to have a one-on-one chat with her and I told her how much I admired her and her positive attitude.

She looked at me and admitted shedding tears when she found out.  She admitted worrying about her children.  She admitted feeling fear.

After thinking about it though, she realized that there’s no point in worrying because it won’t help her get any better.  Being sad won’t help her fight the disease so it’s better to just treat it like any other illness that needs to be fought.  She told me she prayed to God that if she was given this problem then that means she has it in her to face it.  So she decided to just take it one step at a time, one battle at a time.  She decided to put a smile on her face and go about life as normal.

And she did.  That day we had lunch, chatted and had fun.  She then went and picked up her kids at home to bring them to class.

No feeling sorry for herself.  No harassed looks.  No outwardly obvious signs of distress.

I know if it were me in her place, I wouldn’t be able to handle it with this much grace.

Strength has a face and that day, I was looking at it.

It is absolutely beautiful.



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