Friday, November 7, 2008
Dance...Dedicated to Overcoming Adversity
My friend Ruth sent this video to me today and I couldn't help but be inspired and affected by it.
We all have been through ups and downs in life and experienced adversity from time to time. Every person reacts differently it seems when faced with adversity or hardship. Some of us get depressed, some angry, and it is easy to be cynical or embittered by circumstances that cause us stress or discomfort. This dance of the one legged man yells out to me the beauty and triumph possible if one chooses to overcome adversity and excel no matter what circumstances confront us.
I talked to a young man last night who is 38 years old though he looks younger. He has all his faculties, reasonably good looks and a likeable personality. We had a pretty deep heart to heart conversation through which I found out he already had 3 failed marriages, was jobless and living at home with his mother. He could not get a clear vision of what he wanted to do in his life and was only focused on what could possibly make him the most money most quickly. When I asked him what he WANTED to do or what he has passion for...he couldn't really answer the question. This to me was the saddest point in the conversation. I wanted to share with him some of my interests/passions since I sometimes feel I have too many of them to pursue in this short lifetime. But, I have found you cannot impart passion in other people...they either have it/develop it, or they don't...and they often have a long list of "reasons" why they are helpless or victims.
As I ponder this subject, I can't help but think on what I know of President-elect Obama. Here is a young guy, not that much older than my friend last night, who overcame a background of being born to a mixed race couple in a time where it was a real stigma, grew up largely fatherless because of his parent's divorce and abandonment by his father, and from what we are to gather he did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. Somehow, and I'm sure he had help along the way, he made it through Harvard Law School, was the first black editor of the "Harvard Law Review" as a highly unlikely candidate. I have only read overviews of his recent published books about his life experiences, but from what I have read it seems he struggled much with his identity regarding race and religion, his early exposure to multi-cultural living also presented many paradoxes to deal with I'm sure. He even did his share apparently of experimenting with drugs and partying without letting it take control of his life like so many do…going through some very low moments. Yet, somehow in a relatively short lifetime, he aspired to and accomplished becoming the first black President of the United States. Can you spell O-V-E-R-A-C-H-I-E-V-E-R?
Another recent example to me closer to home is my dear Aunt Nan. As recounted on another blog I wrote, she recently lost her partner of almost 60 years after a long bout with cancer and is in the midst of adjusting back to a more solitary life. If that wasn't enough challenge to deal with, just a couple weeks after my Uncle’s passing she became sick in the middle of the night and on her way to the bathroom passed out. She fell and broke one leg in two places and her kneecap on her other leg along with contusions to her head. They rushed her to the hospital and had to do almost immediate surgery on her broken leg which will require a long period of recovery. She spent well over a week after the hospital in a convalescent/recovery center with large amounts of painful daily therapy to get her walking again. She is now at home confined to a wheelchair and a long road to get back on her feet again. I talked to her the day after surgery and again today and through it all it is amazing how she retains her positive, hearty view on life. I know she's getting good family support, but I think the average person would have quite a bit of "poor me" syndrome during this combination of events. When you talk to my aunt, you only get the idea that she is looking forward, not backwards, and taking each day at a time as an overcomer.
As I consider these three examples of people today combined with viewing the one legged dance video, it reminds me that I have no excuse for not succeeding or achieving my dreams. I have many more advantages over the people mentioned above when it comes to background, experience, and even age. As I approach another birthday this next month I am reminded that the ticking clock waits for no one. How we think and act during every moment of our life determines what we will or won't achieve. Sure, some things in life are based on luck, but a majority is based on "pluck". As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect".
So to summarize today's lesson my friends, the way to overcome adversity is to:
Look to the future, not the past.
You have to have a dream, goal or objective in order to steer your life in a positive direction.
We can't limit ourselves to our circumstances or accept barriers, whether interior or exterior, to reach our life objectives.
I'll encourage you if you encourage me. But...I will not wait for your encouragement.
So...how will YOU use today? Let’s dance!