by Liz Johnston
People frequently tell me--“you’re so strong”. They don’t see me on the days I am brought to my knees with pain--the days I can’t catch my breath from sobbing. They say “I don’t know how you get out of bed,” but there are days I struggle to do just that. They say “ I admire your love and grace,” but they are not there when I’m punching walls or furniture with fury. (My wrist is black and blue in fact.) I am not always strong; I am not super woman; I am not always gracious. But when I am asked how I endure, my answer is always the same: Love gives you courage. And I have a lot of courage.
When I was 24 and found out I was pregnant--I had dropped out of college; I was working in retail, (translation I was broke) and I was not married. I had no idea who I was or where I was headed, but the love I had for my unborn child gave me the courage to be a mom despite all the obstacles. And it changed me forever.
When Jordan was 24 and we found out he was sick--the world fell out from under my feet; I was terrified and pained to the core for him, for me, for the entire family. But the love I had for Jordan gave me the courage to care for him, to be by his side, to give him hope and keep myself together, despite my utterly broken heart. Again, I am changed forever.
And now there is the world without Jordan--the hardest place to be. I don’t know how much time I have here, but I do know that I am only able to endure it because of my love for him-- and because of his for me. It gives me the courage to do so.
I have the courage to breathe; I have the courage to get up everyday; I have the courage to teach middle school; I have the courage to start a foundation; I have the courage to celebrate the birthdays of other children when mine is gone; I have the courage to run for office; I have the courage to get healthy; I have the courage to laugh with friends; I have the courage to weep with grief. I even have the courage to be still.
I have the courage to live--all because of love. All because of Jordan.