This I Believe

Patricia - Scottsdale, Arizona
Entered on July 19, 2007

I’m stronger than I knew.

I believe in the strongest, toughest most inner strength. I have been very blessed in my life; I don’t come from a broken or abusive family. It is the opposite, a very close knit family where I consider my immediate family to consist of not only my parents and siblings but also my grandparents, aunts and uncles. I have always had love and support all around me, but even with all of that I didn’t know my personal inner strength until I went through several life changing events.

I was in my early twenties and working for a large financial institution in the Chicago suburbs when I was robbed at gunpoint with two other coworkers. The robbers sprayed us with pepper spray, kicked us, and pistol whipped us, but thankfully didn’t shoot us. After several months, and the bruises disappeared the police caught one of the suspects and there was a trial. Since there were only three victims the DA had us go on the stand one at a time. The two other victims were very upset, as one would imagine, and as I sat there listening to them cry and watching the fear they had of the accused I made up my mind right there that I would not let this person see me cry or my fear. He had already abused me once and I was determined to show him that he hadn’t beaten me down. When I took the stand I answered all the questions asked of me while looking the suspect right in the eye until he finally turned away from me and never looked at me again.

I had done it. I had proved to him that I was no longer afraid of him, little did I realize that day, and most importantly, I had proven to myself that I am stronger than I ever knew.

Years after when my husband and I knew our only son would need to have open heart surgery (the same surgery I underwent at age 19) to fix a birth defect, I knew that I would be strong enough to handle that too. And when my beloved Grandfather died of cancer last summer I knew that I would be strong enough to make it through this grieving process, no matter how long it takes.

When life is filled with helping others, taking care of others, or working for others, it is easy to forget about ourselves. I know now that in order for me to be strong for my husband, son, family and friends I need to be strong for me first. A solid foundation is extremely important in life, and I believe sometimes that foundation is built of inner strength.