Quality or state of being strong

Written By Caren Goldman

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare
hands—and then eat just one of the pieces.

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from
within. It is there all the time.

The first question to be answered by any individual or any social group facing a
hazardous situation is whether the crisis is to be met as a challenge to strength or
as an occasion for despair.

A FABLE BY AESOP tells about a father who despaired because his sons perpetually quarreled.As the tale goes:

When the father failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he told
them to fetch a bundle of sticks. He then placed it into the hands of each of
them in succession and ordered them to break it in pieces. They tried with
all their strength, but were not able to do it. Next, he opened the bundle and
put a single stick into each son’s hands. They broke easily. He then said: “My
sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this
bundle, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided
among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.”

According to my friend Bud, a gifted musician and recovering alcoholic, our cultural imperative to “be strong” can be misleading. “Whenever I felt really strong I wanted a drink,” he said. “But it took being weak to know that my life needed to change.” Bud also told me that the place where he felt the weakest was when he finally hit bottom. “But how did you know when you hit it?” I asked. “You hit bottom when you stop digging,” he replied.

Of course, not all of us dig ourselves into holes and despair. Sometimes we fall in because of accidents, illnesses, or uncontrollable circumstances. But no matter how we got in, we must begin to heal the wounds to our bodies, psyches, or souls to get out. Both Bud and Aesop offer similar advice. If you can’t get yourself out of the hole, hold the hands of others who have already pooled their strength and can show you the way. On the way out, take just one step at a time. They’re cumulative. And also believe that your real strength lies in knowing when to hang on and when to let go; when to trust yourself and when to trust others—both human and Divine.


My weaknesses help teach me what I need to become strong.

My strength is made perfect in weakness.

The burden is equal to the horse’s strength.


Healing Words for the Body Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman

From Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman. Copyright © 2001, 2009 by Caren Goldman. Used with permission from Morehouse Publishing, an imprint of Church Publishing Inc. PART OF THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS NEW BOOK WILL BE DONATED TO BREAST AND OTHER CANCER CAUSE, CARE, AND PREVENTION ORGANIZATIONS.

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