Such Grace, Such Strength
I come from a long line of strong women. Women who offered adversity a glass of sweet tea when it showed up at their door. Women who specialize in hospitality and open arms. Women who made the most of the heart-wrenching seasons and recall the bright moments nestled in the dark ones. Good gravy, I’m so honored to be a part of their bloodline.
My writing location today is the waiting room. Waiting rooms are like limbo: you put everything else on hold and you sit and let the rest of the world move along with their day while you distract yourself waiting for an outcome. No matter if you’re pretending to read or trying to play a game, the thing at the forefront of your mind is the person you’re in the waiting room for.
And doggone it, this waiting thing sure makes me think about things. My momma, in particular. In a few weeks, it will have been a year since she was diagnosed with breast cancer. And my, it’s been a tough ride.
Ten years ago, when Momma was in the hospital before, I was just barely old enough to understand what was going on, but not old enough for any of the adults to want to explain it to me.
This time, things were different. After her first surgery, I had the honor of staying at home with her for the first six weeks post-operation. I say it was an honor because she was always the one who took care of everyone else, and now I was going to get to do the same for her.
She wasn’t an easy patient, of course. Like I said, I come from a long line of strong women, and their biggest weakness is probably that they’re stubborn (me included). Asking for help meant admitting you couldn’t do it all on your own, and these women are not used to asking for help. Asking for help meant vulnerability. So often we confuse vulnerability with weakness, instead of strength. The world tells us that we must do it all on our own, that needing help announces to the world that we’re fragile.
In things like this, vulnerability happens, whether we want it to or not. And vulnerability is hard. But I believe vulnerability is an act of strength, strength that says, ‘I don’t have it all under control, and I need a little help.’ Getting to that point takes a lot out of you, but it’s so needed in hard times. Those moments are where we find and forge relationships. Those moments are where we find community. Those moments are where we find strength.
Momma likes her hair done a very specific way, but that poor woman was forced to deal with my inept fingers for a month post-surgery as I did my best to style her hair. She had to give up the reins on certain things.
When people have asked how she’s doing, my poor captive audience usually listens to me rant about how gracefully she’s handling this. How, just after she was diagnosed, she declared that her gift to herself after ‘all this’ was over would be a bicycle. Girl has spunk.
God created us as relational beings, to share in our struggles and use that opportunity to lift up one another. To be vulnerable with one another in order to connect with each other, as well as with Him.
Vulnerability isn’t weakness. Vulnerability is strength.
And my sweet Momma is one of the strongest of them all.
Such grace. Such strength.