Wandering the savage garden…

Just be stronger?

Someone I knew wrote an “inspirational message” on their whiteboard: “Just Be Stronger.” I have a hard time not writing a response to that on their whiteboard, but first, I need to process the concept.

It makes me angry, really. Not the sentiment itself – that actually makes me really sad for him, because I know why he wrote it. He wrote it out of a sense of desperation, of needing to be stronger, but not knowing exactly how.

So who am I angry at? (Or, more properly, “At whom am I angry?” — I am a writer, you know!)

I’m angry at a lot of things. In the end, the truth is, I’m angry at God.

I’m angry at God on behalf of this person who needs an answer to what he sees as an internal weakness. I’m angry at God on my own behalf, because I have my own need for answers, for help, for succor, and I don’t know from where such aid will come.

“Succor” means “relief, or aid.” It’s probably obvious in context, just in case you don’t know what the word means. I don’t think I should use the word, really, but I’m trying not to edit what I write as part of the “500 words challenge.”

Maybe it’s selfish to assume that everyone should have a helping hand available when they really need it. To me, it’s part of the social contract: you provide aid to those who need, and the implied reward is that when you need it, aid will be there for you, if it’s doable.

This isn’t a sort of cry for help that says “Hey, Santa, give me a Mercedes.” It’s a wail – a cry that says “Someone, give me shelter from this storm.” Shelter can be easy, even if the storm is allegorical. Shelter is something you can provide by coming alongside someone, by empathizing with them, by letting them know they’re not alone, by reaching out.

And thus: I’m angry at God. He created this world; He created this person who is now crying for His help more than mine. God’s got to be infinitely better at helping him than I could ever imagine being – why does He, in his knowledge and wisdom, leave this poor fellow spinning in the wind, despite his cries for help?

Why does He leave it to us, poor and broken instruments of His Will even at our best?

If I was going to write a response to “Just be stronger,” I think I’d write: “You can be stronger. Even better, we can be stronger together than we can ever be when we are apart. I understand. I am with you in the well. You are not alone, and you will never be alone, no matter how alone you might feel right now. I will always be there with you, and I will do my best to carry you when you struggle. You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone.”

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