Find Your Strong

“You’re going to be happy,” said life, “but first I’ll make you strong.”

Maybe it started with the purchase of this “persist” shirt, but I’ve been thinking about strength lately – both the physical and spiritual kind. The “I can do this” kind of strength.

Perhaps it’s because my nest will empty at the end of this month or maybe it’s the two half-marathons I’ve committed to running this fall, I’m not sure. Either way, I’ve been wanting to be stronger for the future. So I was really excited when I bought a running shirt last week that had the words “find your strong” in its design. Motivational slogans are usually lost on me, but this one stuck.

I’d been happy to see improvements in my running over the past few weeks, in spite of the heat. So I was feeling particularly pumped when I set out for my long run this weekend in my new “find your strong” shirt. Persist. Find your strong. That’s the goal.

Things started out okay, but everything began to unravel about three miles from home. The heat was unbearable and my legs felt like lead. My pace slowed to a sluggish jog and ultimately dragged to a walk. I wanted to quit, but I made myself finish the miles at a snail’s pace. Every song on my playlist irritated me and I felt totally defeated. So much for finding my strong.

Or did I?

I thought about that run quite a bit afterward. You know, in spite of it all, I logged the miles — although everything in my body and brain was dying to quit. That was all I could give that day. That was my strong.

Maybe “strong” isn’t a destination or threshold you reach. Maybe the goal posts move. Maybe strong looks different from one day to the next. One day, “strong” means that I’m happy with what I see on my gps after a run and proud of my stride and oh-I-can’t-wait-to-do-this-again heart. Another day, “strong” is laced with profanity, stings with tears of frustration, and stops just shy of “screw this, I quit.”

In other words, maybe “find your strong” really means “do your best with what the day brings, but whatever you do, just don’t quit.”

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