Prava - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on November 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be strong. I always thought of strength as just a physical power. I used to feel that being strong physically and staying active was the key to success. But an incident that happened to two of my friends changed my overall concept of strength.

Christopher and Bryan were two guys I knew in high school. I didn’t know them in person, but they were the guys whom all the students knew about. Christopher was an athlete who was the idol of our high school basketball team. He was dynamic in almost all the activities and full of life. He had lots of friends around him and his life was full of parties. To me, he was the symbol of strength and success. While Bryan, on the other hand, always liked to be on his own. He did not really have many friends. To me, he was a typical loser.

In few months, after similar accident, both of them ended up being paralyzed from the waist down. Christopher and Bryan tried to come back from this shock and went to the rehab. Christopher tried very hard to make his legs work but the progress was too slow. Being away from his social life depressed him and slowly his stress ate him up gradually. He couldn’t take it anymore and he saw no other option but to commit suicide. Bryan had the same stress but he was determined and fought hard to overcome the ailment. One day he realized that his toes wiggled.

Although it didn’t happen again, that little glimmer of hope was enough to give him a new reason to live. He continued his struggle and went to rehab regularly and in the next six months he was finally able to move his feet. And in a few years, he was able to walk with the help of crutches.

I don’t know if he will ever be able to walk the way he used to before, but his story taught me a new meaning to the word “strength.” Strength is not always physical but mental, too. Strength is to not to lose hope when everything else seems to fail. It is the determination to carry on. What I believe is that physical strength is impermanent and destructible, whereas mental strength is forever. When it comes to success in life mental strength plays a more vital role than the physical strength, and it is mental strength that lends a hand to combat with stress. Generally speaking, strength always refers to physical power. But if one thinks about it deeply, strength is the combination of both physical as well as mental power.