Lent – Fortitude

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Day37_Fortitude

for·ti·tude   /ˈfôrtəˌto͞od/
noun: fortitude
  1. courage in pain or adversity.
    “she endured her illness with great fortitude”
    synonyms: courage, bravery, endurance, resilience, moral fiber, strength of mind, strength of character, strong-mindedness, backbone, spirit, grit,true grit, doughtiness, steadfastness; 
    antonyms: faint-heartedness

Perhaps this is a side effect of being male, but often when we (or at lest I) think about fortitude, we think of standing strong without the need of support from others.  To ask for help, to lean on others, to admit vulnerability are all signs of weakness.  Some of this might be attributable to pride.  In my case, I find that a bigger reason it is to avoid spreading pain, uncomforted or worry to others.  At some level, I see the flaw in this way of thinking.  At a deeper level, however, it is part of how I define myself.

The irony (hypocrisy?) of this is that it pains me to see others do the same.  I honestly want to help unburden (or at least share) others’ problems.  This recently hit home hard when I learned that I have passed this trait along to my older child.  I heard my own thoughts echoed back to me… and I am torn.  I so much want to smooth his life’s path.  But I also feel a sense of (perverse?) pride that he has either intentionally or unintentionally chosen to follow my example of being strong so as to shelter others.   I pray that he  (and I) can also eventually learn that allowing a chink or two in the walls of our castles might not be a bad thing after all.

What do you think?