Strength Training

By Eva Andrade, President

Friedrich Nietzsche once said that what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger.

Back in high school, people like me purchased “Cliffs Notes” to get us through literature classes.  In spite of the fact that I loved to read, I appreciated the quick way to get through my homework.  At first it worked like a charm.

That changed when our one-step-ahead-of-us teacher (Mrs. Jane Quinn) began to ask questions that Cliffs Notes didn’t cover.  (Well done Mrs. Quinn!)

In college we were stretched even further.  My English Professor (Professor Dave “Manu” Bird) lamented the world of the “comma-kazi” student who inserted a plethera of commas into their document – except the right places.  Even now I am fearfully re-reading my article knowing that he still sees what I write.  (Extra points in class for finding print articles with errors.)

Math in grade school was simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Word problems caused deep inner stress.  I remember thinking, “who cares how far 75 year old Charlie will get by driving 35 mph on a tank of unleaded gasoline in stormy weather?”

Of course the intensity of math problems escalated in high school from pre-algebra to algebra and then geometry.  I never made it to trigonometry or calculus (thank God)! In college I took Logic 110 because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to see another math problem.  No one told me I would be learning the “simplest” part of propositional logic: combining simple propositions into compound propositions and determining the truth value of the resulting compounds. (Simple? I think not!)

The work was hard and brutal, but I survived because I had outstanding teachers.  In my life things happen and I can remember learning about it in school.  Some things were lifesaving, like not mixing ammonia and bleach.  Other things were a bit more practical, like having neat handwriting and perfect cursive. (The Sisters of Saint Francis are greatly appreciated for that one).

I write this today because as we move through this season of lent, I am reminded that some of the greatest achievements we have in our lives come from hard work.  Discipline.  Practice.  Support.  Friendship.  Encouragement. Patience.  Determination.

All of those things, however, can only come through direct action.  Taking steps forward to learn, grow and then ultimately teach others.  Even if it means we may fail at times.

No one said life was going to be easy.  In fact, even as He tells us that we will have troubles, Jesus gives us the promise that He holds peace in the very palm of His hands.  “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

The best proof I can offer is this:  Earthly Troubles + Jesus = The strength to overcome.

Now that is a math problem we can count on.,