Those words were spoken as part of a speech given by First Lady Michelle Obama in January 2017 as she and her husband, President Barack Obama, prepare to leave Washington, D.C.
The past 8 years has seen a lot of controversy and challenge – for President Obama, for the First Lady, and for their daughters, but never have I seen them give in to despair, anger, or the impulse to strike back at those who spent more time insulting and disrespecting them than trying to work WITH them. I cannot imagine enduring the hate and grief that they’ve been exposed to – not in my wildest dreams. I don’t know that I’m strong enough.
In her speech, First Lady Obama said that she valued her time in the White House – that she was proud of having been our First Lady, and that she was proud of all the people she got to meet and work with. Leading by example with HOPE, never with FEAR was one of the ways she made through what could be described as the most difficult 8 years of her life.
How we deal with challenges – the everyday ones, the big ones, and the small ones, is quite the measure of who we are as people, and how strong our spirits are. When we face those challenges, we can respond in many different ways. Appropriate ways to respond could include meditation, self-care, exercise, and many other positive activities. Inappropriate ways of responding include lashing out, ignoring the challenge, or simply sticking your head in the sand and hoping it all just goes away.
Today, I am reminded of the words of a fellow Unitarian-Universalist, Kenny Wiley, who posted this as part of a message on Facebook:
The overwhelming feeling I have is wanting to just stop and have someone to come in and fix this–to take care of me, and us. I see many folks asking: Can William Barber be our Dr. King? Who will emerge to “save” the Democrats?
I’m starting to think these aren’t the best or most important questions, for me, anyway.
I don’t want to wait for a savior anymore. I don’t want to feel powerless anymore. I don’t want to avoid the news anymore. I don’t want to close my eyes and just hope anymore.
I kept trying to come up with some inspiring way to close this, but I don’t really have one. This stuff really is scary. All I want is for each of us to be our own she-roes and heroes, instead of just waiting for someone else to make this better.
I’m really resonating with this message – I am not going to wait any longer, and I’m not going to close my eyes and just hope. I am making a commitment to BE the she-ro and to help others become she-roes and heroes and find ways to keep working through the tough times. Part of finding those ways is to seek and remain involved in a positive spiritual life, and to actively seek spiritual guidance.
My affirmation: The weight of challenges is lifted off my shoulders when I seek spiritual guidance.
I am able to take all my hardships and tough times in stride because I know that I can rely on spiritual guidance to help keep me strong, focused, and moving forward – ever forward.
Some of my most challenging experiences serve as life lessons instead of hindrances or stumbling blocks because I seek and accept wisdom from a higher place – a stronger place than when I lean unto my own limited understanding.
When I feel weighed down by emotional gloom or by a negative attitude based on what’s going on around me or within me, I can pull myself out of it with assistance that comes through my faith walk – my unique and rewarding practice. I know that I am meant to be happy, prosperous and peaceful, so I lean on that belief to help move me into a better emotional place.
I view family challenges as blessings because I believe that they teach me to embrace my loved ones regardless of the circumstances. I pray for spiritual strength and calmness so I can see the path I need to take to resolve the issue, and tap into the strength to take that first step, and the next one, and the next one.
The weight of challenges grows continuously lighter as I rely more and more on the spiritual path that guides me, and on all the personal development that I’ve experienced. I know I have the support of power beyond myself and I lean on that support when it feels like I am not strong enough to carry the load on my own.
I believe that all challenges are conquerable with the right combination of faith, personal resolve, and focused action.
Today, I view life’s obstacles – no matter how big or how numerous they seem – as temporary roadblocks. I believe that even though these challenges are sometimes difficult to handle, they help me pause and discover the lesson to be learned while tapping into and building my strength to do what must be done. I rely on spiritual guidance to open my eyes, help keep my heart open, and to give me the push I need to take action.