Fortitude… Built Brick by Brick

In the latest Magnolia Fall 2022 Journal… the title read The Fortitude We Gain Along the Way. In one of many diverse articles centering around the word ” fortitude” the author admitted that she found the word, itself, intimidating. I agree.

This is one of those words in the dictionary that ” weigh ” a lot… it is a heavy word and most of us don’t easily associate this word with our own lives. Surely words like this are set aside for heroes who risked their lives for others, or someone who survived conditions that would have destroyed others.

What we don’t grasp is the fact that the courage and strength exemplified in fortitude ” isn’t earned in a day but in the steady resolve to grow from every challenge that wants to uproot us by staying grounded while quietly building deep roots for the big storms ahead.”

It all starts with a brick. Michelle Sassa wrote: Some Call it Grit. Life can often feel like a series of brick walls we have to climb. What if the challenges we’ve met , big and small, weren’t’ there to block us… but to strengthen us? Brick by brick, we’re adding layers of perseverance that builds us up for what’s just down the road?

All these thoughts on bricks got my neurons lighting up… what was the name of that movie where Woody Harrelson’s character talks about a brick… powerful scene! Got it! Indecent Proposal starring Woody, Demi Moore and Robert ( my ” Bobby”) Redford.

In the scene Woody Harrelson plays a professor teaching future architects and he ends his lesson with this ” scene.”

Woody’s character holding a brick


” What is this?” ( he asks the class)

” A brick” replies a student

” What else?” asks Woody

” A weapon” replies another student ( as the class laughs)

Woody smiles and then quietly continues” Think about it. Even a brick wants to be something. It aspires. Even a common, ordinary brick wants to be something more than it is. Wants to be better than what it is… and that ladies and gentlemen is what we must be.”

Woody then starts clicking images of the possibilities that an ordinary brick can aspire to under the expertise of talented architects -(Here are a few of the slides he showed)…

The Pyramids
Notre Dame
The Chrysler Building

It was a powerful scene and one that hit home -especially yesterday… because Ben’s make-up heart specialist appointment set for yesterday had to be canceled again… because of several interstate incidents that brought traffic to basically a standstill… traffic app alerted me it would be a two hour time frame to go to Daniel Island from Summerville… and that was just picking him up… about another 1/2 hour to get him to the appointment location. Three “no go’s” in five days.????!

Now an October appointment… I needed to go to prayer badly yesterday to stay grounded and remain calm … I think I need to keep growing my roots a LOT deeper since the interstate ” storms” just keep pounding me. Over a year doing this and getting everywhere on time and suddenly the interstates have become impenetrable brick walls.

So until tomorrow… Father… I know in the big scheme of things… these medical appointment frustrations take a back seat to so many other obstacles that confront us along our path… and I know deep down that it is the lack of control over these situations that frustrates me the worst… we humans are like that you know… so here’s the deal… if YOU want to take the driver’s seat next time… I will happily climb in the back!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

… and you know what? It turned out to truly be my favorite day because Jo Dufford came to visit and she always lights up a room! She was having car problems too so we could commiserate and laugh together. When she left she was sweating whether ” Big Blue” would start. Something was wrong with the key ignition. She had to remember to park the car perfectly with the tires straight ahead-but one front tire was turned slightly sideways-we said a quick prayer and ” Big Blue” was off and running!!!”

Look at all my birthday presents Jo left behind -including a small casserole dish with a picture of Winnie and Piglet saying ” Today is my favorite day” -Perfect timing God with the Wink!!! 😂
Here we go again -photo frame!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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