stand tallSome people stand tall when they cannot even stand at all.

I’ve been honored to know several of these inspiring individuals over the years. I’m thinking you know a few too. You know, the people who refuse to sink under immense pressures.

There’s the stalwart farmer who gets back on the tractor and plants again after losing all his crops to hail. Or the young businesswoman who will not let her boss’s demands demean her bright future. And we can’t forget the athlete who endures excruciating rehab to get back to competing.

One of these inspiring Bend Bravehearts is a disabled widow from my hometown area. Some people stand tall when they cannot even stand at all.

Maybe You Can Relate

The morning after we buried my mother in the dark chocolate-hued Nebraska soil, I drove just south of the cemetery to give one of the gorgeous memorial bouquets to Viola. Viola was a widow who couldn’t attend Mom’s funeral. It is challenging to make it anywhere when the only thing you drive is a wheelchair.

Polio attacked this mother of two in the 1950s. Later in retirement, a heart attack killed Viola’s husband—leaving her alone on the family farm.

Viola was the only person I knew growing up in our rural community who couldn’t walk. Today as I write this, I can still picture Viola’s striking silvery hair and her carefree smile. Her beauty radiated far beyond her disabled body.

As I think now about this cheerful widow, I can’t help but recall the lives of people in the Bible who also faced pain, loneliness and disappointment. Many like Viola were unable to move their legs. Others couldn’t speak; some couldn’t hear. Still others carried the wounds of rejection.

Maybe you can relate. Atrophied legs may not hinder you, but chances are you still need the perseverance that kept Viola engaged in living with joy and purpose … even alone in an unassuming farmhouse on the top of a windswept hill.

Fashioned to Prevail

Illness. Troubled Relationships. Job Loss. Divorce. Death. We’ve all endured myriad life stressors and setbacks in our lives. Learning to overcome against all odds is part of our divine design. We are fashioned with a will to prevail and bend on no matter what. Even if we think we just can’t keep going.

A Japanese proverb cheers us on with, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” I might add, and stand up tall even if you can’t stand at all. American author and artist Mary Anne Radmacher reminds us, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

I love that inspiration to sit in silence at the end of the day and let this day go. I know Viola did this day and day out with both stillness and peace.

So how about let’s find this tranquil courage right now.

Pause. Breathe deeply. Exhale.

We will try again tomorrow. And when we do, I just know we’ll be standing tall.