So much of what I write here is about our family. About autism and how we navigate that part of our life. And sometimes that piece feels so big that I am thankful for my strength.
I am proud of that strength. That strength is earned. It comes from the choices and decisions that brought me here. That led me to my husband. To my children. To my life. Some of you may not know that I was married once before. I got married so young. Before I knew who I was. Before I knew what I wanted. I tried to be half of something else before I was whole on my own. When I left that relationship I called into question a lot about myself. Why I made the decision I did. Why I choose something that was not good for me. Why I could not make it work. Why I gave up. Why I started over. I spent more time than I was comfortable with thinking about that relationship. Learning from it. Vowing to be different. To be better.
It is a part of my life that I keep close to me. I did not put it on shelf and file it away. I keep it close because it was a part of my journey. It changed me. I was broken; and then I healed. Remembering that helps me remember that I can survive anything. It helps me remember that my strength comes from within. From my experiences. From my life. And somehow, remembering that seems to enhance my strength.
I think we all feel broken at some point. Falling down is a part of life. It is what teaches how to stand back up; bruised but not ever truly broken. Earnest Hemingway said that “we’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken.” And I know this is true. I know that this is true because I have been broken. I have fallen down. I have made mistakes. I have been weaker than I wanted to be. I have questioned myself. Questioned my strength. Questioned my ability to heal myself.
And, like anyone who has felt broken before understands; one day we just stop feeling so broken. We teach ourselves to focus our love and our energy in the broken places. We will them to be stronger, better. And after we are healed we are stronger. Stronger for having had the chance to focus our love and our energy. Stronger for having been broken.
We move forward at first because we have to; life keeps moving. And then slowly over time we move forward because we want to. Because we are not afraid of it anymore. We stop looking at what is behind us. We learn that is does not matter anymore. We learn that we do not need it anymore; maybe we never did.
We look ahead, forward. Because backwards is no longer an option. Because moving forward is better than standing still. Because moving forward gives us hope. Makes us strong.
Sometimes things happen in our lives that throw us of course. Life can shake us to our core and sometimes scare the crap out of us. Those are all challenges. Challenges that only come our way because we are strong enough to overcome them.
I know that I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be. I am stronger because I had to be. And learning to be strong also taught me how to be brave. How to endure. How to start over.
When I feel like my life is getting bigger than me; I remember all that I have already overcome. And, I thank God for each and every single hard thing that stood in my way. Because all of those things came my way and I fought through them. I moved forward. I took the lessons that I needed from them; and I moved on.
Sometimes we choose to be strong. And sometimes we are forced to be strong. And sometimes you may feel forced at first and then realize this is something you should have been choosing for yourself all along. Because life has a funny way of working out exactly the way it is supposed to.
To the people in my life being asked to be stronger than they want to be right now; you can do this. Because you can do anything. You are surviving. You are growing. Learning. Pushing forward. You are already better; stronger. One day you will look back at this moment and you will be thankful that you did not let it define you. You will be THANKFUL for having been broken. You will be STRONGER for having been broken. You will be YOU for having been broken.