Moons ago, back in 2016, I had a Sunday (one of many) of tears; solitary tears. Eventually, I reached out to some people I know, just for human contact by phone. I said to the first, “I don’t want to talk about me. Just tell me about you.” Later, I could not reach my mom, sister or the two friends I called. I cried. Nothing specifically was wrong. There was no new news of decline, or infection, or worse for my sons in their daily battle with chronic, progressive, incurable Cystic Fibrosis (CF). There were no new calamities at work, or school, or in life… Nothing had changed from the day or weeks before. Ask me then, “Why the tears?” I could not tell you.

Ask me a week later: I was just tired.

Such is the way of life. We get up, prepare ourselves, care for our families, and go to work every day. We do what we have to do. We muster up strength and put on our public faces to meet all the needs we need to meet where we work and serve others. Countless times, when people come to know any part of my story, they reply, “I would never have known…” or with tears, “I thought my life was hard, but now I…”

We just never know what the other person is struggling with. Sometimes, we don’t take the time to ask, not because we are self-absorbed or don’t care but because we are hunkered down in the trenches of our own battles as well. For some of us that entrenchment in the battle means that we do all that we can to conserve energy. It may look like isolation, but it is far from it.

Sometimes, others know and think they understand, communicating, “I’ll be there for you.” or “It’s not about carrying your load. It’s about giving you an outlet” or “I’m here.” Sometimes they remain, sometimes they don’t…

No matter what, we rise up. Every day, we rise up. We just plain rise up.

On my Internet feed, that particular Sunday, was the story of Jayna Brown, a 14-year old, who had recently performed on America’s Got Talent. She had sung Andra Day’s “Rise Up” (2015). Once I found the YouTube video below, I watched it over and over and over again. I have watched the video and listened to the song countless times since then. Every time is as powerful as the first time hearing it.

It’s okay to be tired.
It’s okay to cry.
It’s okay to feel weak.

No matter what…
We rise up.
WE rise up.
We RISE up.
We rise UP.

No matter what, we rise up. Everyday.

Every day is a New Day for that rising to oppose what dreams of beating you down.

In the words of Mohammed Ali:

We can speak those words to any situation. No matter what battles we face, whatever it is that dreams of beating us down… Let’s purpose to rise up and when we awaken. Let’s hear that battle apologize to us. Why? Because we have already risen up and we will win the battle… No matter how long it takes, how much we may have to do on our own, how many times or not that we have help, how many times we fall, how many anything…

Oft times, our fight is not like that of a boxer in the ring. Oft times, our fight is just waking up, rising up and doing what we need to do with faith and perseverance, with enduring love and fortitude, with hope that conquers all. Each of us finds these things in different ways and at different times…

Remember too, we do move mountains, even if only an inch at a time. Also, our battles are given to us for our refining… so that we can come forth more beautiful, purer than gold and stronger than platinum.

*** Thank you for visiting with my thoughts. Did this speak to you? Follow me on Twitter, or read more here. 

This article was originally published in July 2016 and February 2017, under the title, Rise Up: Schooled by a 14-year old and Andra Day. It has been edited and revised for this re-publication.

Originally published at


  • Michelle Patrovani

    Mom of young adults with Cystic Fibrosis, Educator, Blogger/Writer, Perpetual Learner, Pursuer of Life @AbundantBreath

    Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Michelle, at age 20, emigrated to the U.S. She is a single mother of two sons diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) in their teens, an educator, and a perpetual learner. Follow @AbundantBreath on Twitter.