As we all blow away the flame of 2015—watching the smoke of its fire march into the sky and then disappear—let us consider what it is to end a thing. And end it well.  Happy New Year to you all!


Strength isn’t born in a seated position—

In fact it isn’t born at all—

It does not appear

And cannot be bought but


It is wrought

When against resistance you push

And push

And push or

Pull, depending on . . .


Strength is a journey:

Not of flight but of steps.

One foot in front of the other

Despite the hurricane blowing in your face


Even worse

The nothing that does not

Blow through the trees

Or quicken your pace—

That does not traipse along the face of water

To begin a ripple

Signaling movement or


Or hope.


Strength is being alive

Because you chose to



Strength is carrying the load:

Sometimes of weight given to you

By others

The sadness and pain

The confusion and rain

The lies and the truth

(That hurt more than the lies)—

But sometimes strength is carrying


The talents you know

And the gifts that could grow

If only your courage caught up

With . . .

Well, you know.

Your strength.


Strength is saying goodbye

To what lies behind

Even when that which

Sits on the ground was meant to stay:

Deep inside your traveling bag

Never supposed to be lost

Or removed

Or missing

Or gone,

But when the road

You’re walking on got bumpy

Some things fell out and there

They stay.

That’s okay.

Strength is built on

“I thought I could count on,

but I could not.”


Strength is saying hello

Still remembering goodbye

Because goodbyes are lessons

And hello’s

Are lessons too.

Hello to the new without bringing the old

Hello to the bold I discovered

In taking a chance

And walking the road

And standing instead of sitting and

Never laying

Accept to reenergize

My heart

My soul

My mind

And time.


Strength is considering it all—

Not ignoring a bit—

Then setting a goal

Up ahead.

Assessing your then but

Living in now

Whistling your wishes

Walking your objectives

Fighting to climb

And to climb

And to climb

Higher and


And you might as well think it:


Get ready,

Let’s go.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson


(Photo credit: Heiko Müller’s drawing, Across the Alps.