This picture was taken yesterday on my way home from lunch at an intersection that is very close to home. We experienced a little bit of a heat wave in northern Illinois during the dead of winter, as temperatures climbed into the low 40s on this most beautiful Sunday. With snow in the forecast, taking advantage of a day like that, which involved opening up the sunroof on the truck, was a must.

The scene in the snapshot highlights the intersection of Nippersink and Fairfield, which is somewhere I have been several thousand times in my lifetime. I have witnessed so many beautiful sunsets and skies here, but it is rare when I actually get to stop and capture it. Today was my lucky day and one of the few times where hitting a red light was okay. Even more amazing was the fact that not one car passed by during the shot. It was just me, the dark pavement, the sunshine, the beautiful blue sky, and the crazy cloud formations. I like to think that people don’t fully appreciate where they live all the time, but small things like this can make one realize how special a place can be.

For those of you who did not already know, I’m what some would call a deep thinker. I analyze every aspect of life and often keep my thoughts to myself unless I really feel compelled to say something. Writing has been a God-send to me, and something that really allows me to say what I need to say and express my thoughts. I have been thinking a lot about the term strength lately, and it has always been my belief that strength of the mind is far more important than of the body. Of course it is ideal to be equally strong when it comes to both, but having a strong mind allows one to accomplish and get through things those with a weak mind could not.

Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson/Trail BlazerRy
Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson/Trail BlazerRy

Simply put, life can be very tough to deal with sometimes. We are put in situations where there is no winning and it is hard to believe any good can come from it. What hurts more than anything is seeing those who we love and would do anything for struggle, knowing the only thing we can do is offer up encouragement, an ear to listen, or a shoulder to cry on. We are not sure what to do beyond that and often take it upon ourselves to find a solution to something completely out of our hands. This is the point where we need to stop and think about the situation. We need to realize that sometimes we were not meant to understand why life is so cruel. We just need to keep living and do the best we can to fight through what is wronging us. That is the definition of inner strength.

Despite feeling broken or helpless,  we always find the courage to stand up, dust ourselves off, find the positive in things, and keep moving forward, and so do the ones we care most about. We are able to do this because we have the strength to do so, as well as people in our lives who remind us of how great we are and how much we are worth every single day. Those two things alone give us a courage we never knew we had. I don’t know where I’d be without these things, and I won’t stop being the one who builds others up until my days on this earth are done with.


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