Each of us place limits on ourselves every day of our lives. Naturally, there are certain activities we can’t do, as mere mortals. We can’t fly, therefore we know we can‘t jump off of tall buildings. We know certain foods make us sick or could kill us. We have limits all around us and are taught as small children as our parents seek to teach us to stay out of the street as well as not to run with sharp objects and generally stay away from danger. That’s life. It’s good to be safe but I have often wondered if most of us take caution a bit too far. Do you and I often place limits on ourselves that possibly don’t need to be there?
I think those of us who live with chronic pain and/or diseases do this more than most of those merry folks who are out there running around totally not appreciating their good health. If only…well, it’s too late for that because we must deal with what we are but do it in the most realistic way. We may need to move the needle up a bit on our “real” scale and take on a few activities that frighten us. We must stop taking comfort in the words handicap, crippled and sickly. What if we are? We’re still alive, aren’t we? Life is so abundant, so rich and so fantastically beautiful. Let us not escape it quite so quickly, okay?
Dr. Normal Vincent Peale wrote about a man named Bob Wieland who lost his legs due to a landmine in Vietnam. If anyone faced limitations it was him, Bob and so many of our returning veterans today know or have seen on the Wounded Warriors commercials. We sit in front of our TV’s amazed and full of sorrow yet struck with awe as we watch all of these strong young men and women achieve so much. It isn’t any easier for them than it is for us who suffer disease or a multitude of injuries.
Bob Wieland went on to become a champion weight lifter, motivational speaker, triathlete, and a marathon runner. He even achieved a walk across America, pushing himself on his knuckles across the states to raise funds for the homeless. For Bob his handicaps became a stimulus, not a dead end. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each of us could find that kind of courage?
I know for millions throughout the world life is difficult. You and I are not alone in that. Pushing ourselves is an act of will and happens in the mind, long before it happens on the floor. Personally, I now pray for that kind of courage as I go through a difficult time in my own life and once again must make a comeback. I confess there are many times I feel like giving up but that idea with all of its intricate repercussions frightens me terribly. It’s a tragic road strewn with loss, dependence and being left out. I love life too much to give up.
Everywhere you and I turn we can find excuses. There are many difficulties in this life but there are far more reasons and excuses not to give in to them. During this Thanksgiving season I am going to make a pledge to each of you, my friends and readers, to look for more reasons to get back on my feet and work at becoming strong…at least as strong as my ill body will allow. Sitting back in the comfort of familiar pain and illness can be cozy and comfortable however it cuts off so many wonderful aspects of life and should not be tolerated.
As you, I have met many folks over the years that have wonderful excuses to stay where they are. They garner sympathy, but sympathy doesn’t get a job done, open a door or bring joy. It only brings attention and a brief sort of satisfaction that is short-lived.
Young people and old often get hung up on the past. I know one young woman whose mother used to beat her and she is stuck on that spot in her life and cannot and will not move forward. My own dear Mom even talked of her tragic childhood, being deserted by her mother, on her deathbed. Mom died at 93 year of age and had never been able to hurdle the tragedy of her childhood. Tragedy befalls us all but we must brush it aside, step over it or simply forgive to move ahead or all of life will be affected by this event, however evil or tragic, your life is worth too much to do that. You give power to the evil that has occurred in your life if you keep it too close.
Many of us who are older use age as an excuse, if not illness. Just because we are a certain age doesn’t mean we have to stop. Many elderly keep working because they enjoy their jobs or need the income. I’ve known many folks who die within a year of retirement and I’ll bet you’ve known someone like that, also. Yes, it is true it takes longer to recover from illness and injury as we age but not impossible. Patience is needed more with age.
We each, healthy or ill, need motivation, purpose and desire. We need dreams and belief in our potential. Too often we place limitations on ourselves and they act as barricades to life. Don’t you think all of those Wounded Warriors Project veterans we see on TV are having pain? Do you think they achieved what they have by sitting down and giving up? To work through our dilemmas, our burdens and our infirmities takes courage. I’ve often been forced to ask myself how much courage I actually own. It’s a good question, don’t you think?
I wonder how many of us are living lives far inferior to what they could be? Faith in life can free each of us instead of allowing us to be imprisoned. Yes, much more than you and I dream of is possible. The key is in belief. No one can keep you from believing. It’s limitless. Those of who embrace the Christian faith are told to live life abundantly…not partially, but abundantly. That is an abundance of spirit, not material wealth. That will follow. Belief keeps the magic in life and life without magic is missing a piece of the eternal. Walt Disney knew that and those of us who fight handicaps know that life can still be filled with magic.
To once again quote Dr. Peale: “God never willed that you should be less than you can be.” Have a fine and blessed Thanksgiving dear friends and embrace life with both arms as well as your heart.