A little boy went to the fair with his dad and saw an inflatable clown sporting a sign that read, “Try to knock me down.” He hit it, he slapped it, he pushed it – he struck it again and again, and the harder he hit, the quicker it seemed to bounce back up. No matter how hard he tried, it just would not stay down.
His father watched as the boy punched the clown until he finally interrupted and asked, “How is it possible for the clown to keep standing back up, no matter how hard you hit it?” The child scratched his head and said, “Dad, I think this clown is standing up on the inside.” Did you know that each of us has the ability to stand up on the inside? Let me explain.
A magazine article told about a woman in rural Florida who was recuperating from a lengthy illness. She enjoyed sitting on her front porch in her wheelchair and, on this day, she watched her son repair his automobile. He raised it on blocks of wood, removed the tires and slid on his back underneath the vehicle. Suddenly there was a loud crack and the automobile lurched to one side, pinning the young man underneath. She screamed for her husband who ran to assist, but he couldn’t budge the car or the young man. He climbed into his own vehicle and sped off for help.
The mother, who hadn’t walked in months, realized that her son’s groans were growing fainter and she knew that it would be up to her to save the boy. She sensed he was dying and that she had to act immediately. She rose to her feet and walked on shaky legs to the car. Bracing herself, she lifted. The car rose a few inches – just enough to let the boy scramble free. Then she collapsed. After a thorough examination, she was found only to have suffered strained muscles. And the incredulous doctor’s words were most telling: “I will always wonder,” he said, “how far she might have lifted that car if she had been well and strong.”
We’ve read similar stories about persons exhibiting almost super-human strength in times of crises. Call it a miracle. Call it providence. Or call it a physiological response to an adrenalin surge – this mother, and others like her, found the strength she needed, when she needed it, to face the crisis at hand. And so it is with all of us. When life knocks us down and it seems impossible to get back up, when life demands more from us than we are able to give, then more than ever, we need to find a way to do what needs to be done. It is at just these times that we come face to face with a reserve of strength we never knew we had.
We are stronger than we think. Like the clown, we, too, have the ability to bounce back. We have emotional, spiritual and even physical resources at our disposal. We may get knocked down, but we don’t have to stay down. It’s like standing up on the inside. And when we find strength to do that, we will be able to stand up to most anything life throws our way