I’m reflecting this morning on the strong women I’ve met since starting this blog last summer. Reflecting on the courage they exhibit in their daily lives as they battle the herculean forces of set-backs, discouragement, and the ignorance (and insensitivity) of others.
What bravery is this, that such women as these—-women abused from childhood and bearing the battle scars on their bodies and psyches—-dare to get themselves out of bed each day to face another onslaught of fear and self-doubt? What is it that compels such women to keep on keeping on, to stand up to and fight the Goliaths in their lives, with a few paltry pebbles hastily gathered together at a moment’s notice?
I’m thinking of Keepers and her undaunted courage to face her ex-therapist in court, to stand against his evil influence on others, when sitting down and looking the other way would be so much easier. And the courage it must take to deal with the horrendous rejection of her own children—oh, it hardly bears telling. Or Austin, facing an unexpected eviction and the possibility of losing her much loved kitties. In what corner of her soul did she forage to find the will to seek out another therapist, surely one of the hardest of endeavours for any multiple? How does she face the increase of physical disability, along with sudden hair loss?
O, what strong women are these that they rise after each fall! What strong women to get back up again and again when lying down and giving in to whimpering death is so tempting, and something for which surely no one with the least compassion could fault them.
See over here this wounded comrade lying crumpled, looking totally defeated. Today she received some bad news. Perhaps a loved one has unexpectedly severed their relationship and she is cut to the quick as surely as if she’d been stabbed in the heart. She lies unmoving, barely breathing, all of her parts weeping profusely. She is numb with shock, unable to regain her hard won tenacity of the past. To have come this far, for this! It is too much, life is asking too much of her. But if you keep watch you will see, eventually, the stirrings of a new-found resolve. A twitch in one leg, a soft sigh escaping the lips. As if in slow motion she comes to life, but this is no Frankensteinain monster clumsily sewn together at the hands of a maniacal doctor. This is a real flesh and blood women whose strength has been woven together on the loom of pain and shame, and a loneliness so deep that there are no words worthy of its expression.
Over there lies MeMe, another wounded comrade, fallen before nightfall from the slings and arrows of her loved ones’ indifference to her sufferings and needs. She is bleeding, but it is not a bodily injury. Her heart is bleeding and there is no one to staunch the flow of blood, no one but her comrades in arms, busy fighting their own battles. As if from a great distance and perhaps even a greater span of time (light-years for instance) she hears the faint rumblings of Austin’s righteous anger, indignant on her behalf. She senses that she is not alone in this, that reinforcements have been called in. She lies half-conscious, too weary for coherent thought except for the one over-riding realization that help is on the way. Unseen by the naked eye, something within her, something akin to hope or good old fashioned stubbornness stirs as if from a deep slumber, and her eyes flutter open, bejeweled with tears of sorrow mingled with hopeful tears of anticipated rescue.
O, what army is this! What prevailing power such as the world has never seen should they ever join together in complete unity of spirit and resolve. Why, mountains would move and be cast into the depths of the sea, enemies defeated in battle, hearts mended, dreams recaptured and the pestilence of fear and self-loathing banished, gone forever as woman after woman vaccinates herself against these with the iron will of I will not be overcome and evil shall not have the last word. And, my pain shall not define who I am, not for another year, another day, another moment.
And here is Thriver, brought to her knees by memories so keenly repulsive that her mind shuts down against them. Surely the very heavens weep at the spectacle of this dear sister in arms defeated in battle, her very life force ebbing away. She lies stupefied by pain, smitten by the horrors of evil. Will she vanquish this old nemesis, evil, once again, or shall this be the final blow, the one which pummels all resolve from her battered heart? O, but here is word that beautifuldreamer is keeping watch, that she has not forgotten this treasured sister valiantly fighting life’s battles alone. With words of comfort and sweet assurance (Beauty knows these words by heart, so often have other used them to encourage her in time of need!), she bends down and performs emergency heart to heart resuscitation. She fears at first that it is too late, for she finds no pulse. But within moments faint color returns to Thriver’s wan cheeks accompanied by a weak smile. One down, Beauty thinks with satisfaction, and one back up.
Today I’m thinking of all these strong women, an army full of the most daring soldiers that ever defended the cause of liberty and justice. They are invincible; shaken, but not destroyed; wounded, but not unto death; defeated in various skirmishes, but victorious in war. They are strong, they are many, they are a force to be reckoned with. I count myself fortunate to be counted among such as these, these soldiers and warriors fierce in their determination to do more than survive. None of these will settle for mere survival; they aim to be over-comers, thrivers. And with the rage of all the abused through all the ages strengthening their wills of iron, oh how they will prevail!