As a kid, I used to watch the TV series Kung Fu with my father.
In some respects, I was probably the boy my father never had. As a result, it was really no surprise that I considered myself to be as strong as any boy growing up.
Fast forward to my married years, and I can see how that belief stuck with me in many situations.
Any time physical strength was called upon, there I was...
holding my own...
carrying an equal load...
proving my value
It seriously never dawned on me that I was not as physically strong as my husband.
This belief was clearly illustrated early on in our relationship. One evening, as we chattered away with friends in the midnight hour, we heard the squeal of tires and a loud crash coming from outside the house.
We ran to the windows to investigate and saw that a car had swerved across the neighbor's lawn and smashed into another car parked in the driveway.
It soon became apparent that the man who had been driving was completely inebriated and desperate to get himself and his car far far away.
My husband swung into action fearing that the situation could get worse for everybody if the driver were able to get back on the road in his inebriated state. Before running outside, he turned to us and said,
"Stay inside and stay down with the lights off. I'll be back soon."
My fear for his safety, however, and my utter belief in my ability to be an asset to him in this situation outweighed his words of warning and I snuck out after him.
I know. I know.
Fortunately for us, nothing bad happened...except perhaps to my ego.
Long story short, my husband managed to get the keys to the car and call the police before the man did further damage to himself or someone else. We were also able to run back to the safety of the house in the dark of night without the man seeing where we had gone.
As the adrenalin began to settle, my husband turned to me and inquired as to my
state of mind...
in this situation.
I calmly reassured him that there was nothing wrong with my state of mind or judgment or actions since I was a fast runner and at the very least could have distracted the driver while he retrieved the keys.
You see...I had a plan.
My husband then enlightened me to some sobering thoughts of his own,
"Lana...I know you're fast, but you're not faster than me. I wasn't concerned that I couldn't outrun the driver if I needed to. I was concerned that I would TRIP on YOU while trying to outrun the driver!!!"
I indulged him on that night and conceded that perhaps there was a grain of truth to what he was saying. In reality, however, I was not convinced.
I had somehow bought into the notion that physical strength parlayed itself into value.
As a result, conceding that he had the greater physical strength meant, in my mind, that he was more valuable than me...
And I was not about to concede that.
Crazy thinking...but completely understandable given my belief.
All those years ago, I hadn't yet considered the possibility that,
strength lies not just in the physical, but in the emotional and mental as well.
It took me years, in fact, to acknowledge and recognize the profound value and merit of emotional and mental strength.
More often than not...
it is our emotional and mental strength that carries us through the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of life.
It is this strength that supports not only ourselves but also those that we love.
While women, in general, do not have the same innate physical strength as men...
as women, we have, in abundance, an ability to keep calm and carryon when challenged to do so.
That is strength equally worthy of physical strength.
And as I write these words I can hear my daughter talking to her father in the other room. She stumbles to understand my own hard-won lesson as she says,
"I don't want my husband to be stronger than me. That's like he's better than me."
To whichmy husband replies,
"It's not better. It's just different."
I nod my head as I recognize the truth and wisdom of his words.
And then I hear my husband say with a chuckle,
"And besides, if you pick the right person, theycan convince you that you are stronger than them for YEARS."
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