Fortitude is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.
Dictionary.com defines it as guts.
Backbone, boldness, bravery, courage, determination, endurance, fearlessness, grit, perseverance, pluck, pith, spunk, stamina, tenacity… (Don’t you love that word, pluck! It makes you want to have it!)
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
The experiences that build fortitude are not always the most pleasant. Who would choose them? However, if you look at the woman or man you have become due to some formidable and unpleasant challenges, what do you see? Who do you see?
Harold Kushner, a rabbi and inspirational author, wrote the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People following the death of his son, Aaron, from the premature aging disease “progeria”. Kushner acknowledges in the Introduction that this life changing and painful experience made him a more understanding and compassionate rabbi for his congregation. He also admits that he would give it all up to have his son back.
Unfortunately for us, we have no choice but to go forward with life. We are forced to make sense of accidents, unnecessary deaths, traumatic experiences and misfortune. But we do have the choice of how we digest and assimilate these experiences. And this process fosters fortitude.
No matter how you’ve acquired it, you’ve earned it.
Embrace the gift of fortitude.