We grow strong when we go down deep into ourselves and find something that matters so much to us that we cannot walk away. We do not want to walk away. We choose not to walk away.
We grow strong when we decide we may not know how to do something but we will put one foot in front of the other until the deed is done.
We grow strong when we face a seemingly insurmountable obstacle and we keep on going.
We grow strong when we speak our truth even if our words are unwelcome and people try to crush us and put us down.
I grew strong in my father's house. His word was law and disension was brutally quashed.
I grew stronger when my first marriage ended and divorce Irish style took 9 years.
I grew stronger still when my daughter Hannah died.
Many times I believed myself weak.
Many times I wanted to give up.
But my strength lay in my persistence.
I see that persistence all around me.
I see it in the Dalit People of India.
I see it in Justice for Magdalenes
Growing up, I saw it in Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement.
And in the powerful words and deeds of Martin Luther King.
But being strong and courageous is not just the province of famous people, it dwells most especially in those among us whose names are unknown, the ones who live lives of quiet courage. So if that's you, I salute you now.