"Strong enough not to"
There is a brilliant scene in the animated series Avatar, The Legend of Aang (if you haven’t seen it, we can’t be friends), where Katara, one of Aang’s friends, reflects back on a battle she just had with someone she once knew, she says:
‘I don’t know whether I didn’t finish him because I was not strong enough, or because I was strong enough not to.’
To be strong is good. We need to be strong to survive and thrive but to be strong and able to control your strength is best.
In order to turn the other cheek, you need a cheek to turn.
There is no virtue in cowardice.
‘Be bold, be humble’ is how St Teresa of Avila’s words are translated in The Interior Castle. It describes a person that is strong enough to ask for what they want, to act, to defend, to knock your block off, and also be humble enough to see everything living thing as equal and connected to themselves. The harmony of strength and humility is a fearsome thing to behold.
At the CrossFit Box where I train AJ, our coach had these words painted on the wall. I look at them every day, whilst trying not to lose consciousness during some mad workout,
Strong. Brave. Humble.
That is the invitation then, to build up the seemingly paradoxical, to become strong in mind and body, and to become humble in spirit.
Get skin in the game, train.