We all suffer crises of the heart or constitution or resolve. Then we find ourselves entering our weakness. Periodically we’re singled out for testing and re-proving; this seems to be a fact of life for every person.
The following aphorism by Balthasar Gracian makes clear sense but I have broken it up into chunks in quotation marks to further explore how we overcome perplexing difficulties in life.
“In great crises there is no better companion than a bold heart, and if it becomes weak it must be strengthened from the neighbouring parts.”
We know it to be nothing short of inspiring when we conquer difficulties with a bold heart.
When we’re not so bold, awareness and decisiveness seem to be the keys. The only ‘neighbouring part’ that might assist the heart during weaker times is the mind; the mind might also facilitate other parts.
The mind can be helpful because it can be grown strong, decisive, and wilfully patient. Decisiveness, other than awareness, is the big issue here.
“Worries die away before a person who asserts themselves.”
Here is a poignant lesson: Never again should we not assert ourselves.
Fear, anxiety and worry all evaporate in the sight of faith — the courage of faith to act beyond what is seen in the here and now. It’s a matter of training. We must repetitively remind, train, even ‘brainwash’ ourselves to respond with assertion and faith as much as we can when we’re confounded with difficulty. As Oswald Chambers said, and I love to quote, “If there is no strain, there is no strength.” We cannot overcome if we don’t try.
“One must not surrender to misfortune [losing hope], or else it would become intolerable.”
What carries on from this is obvious. A sinkhole effect is produced. Simply put, we go down the gurgler. Once we’ve lost hope our very essence is removed and all meaning disappears. We’re forlorn and embanked with sorrow at the soul level. Surrendering to the situation is clearly the wrong thing to do, tactically.
Enter the paradox...
We should surrender, however, but... we should surrender only to one thing — to the being and will of God; for his grace and strength is more than enough for us.
People who know the Holy Spirit and know how to tap into this enormous energy reservoir can do the most miraculous things (with very limited resources) in the name of their God.
“Many people do not help themselves in their troubles, and double their weight by not knowing how to bear them.”
Bearing under something takes us directly to the ancient meaning of the equivalent word for patience in Greek. Sometimes what helps is getting out of the way. If we add our own negative perceptions or lack of patience to the problems at hand we make life even harder.
Patient endurance is the answer. If we endure the present moment we will live to laugh about it, not regretting our actions, wasted thought or energy.
“The person that knows themself knows how to strengthen his or her weakness, and the wise person conquers everything, even the stars in their courses.”
Nothing stands in the way of the person who can readily strengthen their weakness.
To do this we must be courageous enough to get to know our true selves intimately, being honest about the faults we see. This is no small step. It cannot be understated. It’s a journey all must take, alone.
It takes us a significant portion of courage to bear with the true picture that is “me, and what is my weakness”. We don’t like to see it. It takes courage to get there and not run away and simply deal with it.
Once we commit to identifying and addressing or strengthening our weaknesses, one at a time, we can grow as persons.
Quotes modified to provide gender inclusivity.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.