Last week I saw former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford, walk on to the stage at the Democratic National Convention, to face a cheering and tearful crowd. As tears fell from my own eyes, I was reminded of what it is to be courageous despite the many obstacles we face in our life. I was not thinking of the horrific shooting that almost killed her. I was not thinking of her as a severely brain-damaged woman who struggled with ever step she took and every word she spoke. Instead, my heart exploded as I felt the triumphant smile on her face and the resounding joy in her heart.
Check out the video below and see if you can see what I saw, hear what I heard and feel what I felt.
As I watched her, I heard the following words in my own mind.
I am defeating my fear of facing the world with my growing ability. I am extraordinary, for I can rise no matter how low I must fall. With your love and support, I am rising to the true greatness I can now express to you all!
Sooner or later, we all go through some sort of misfortune that can virtually destroy us. It could be a health crisis such as a life-threatening disease, a financial issue such as loosing a job, and so on. These misfortunes can be see as God’s gift to helping us find the greatness within ourselves.
Like Gabby, I had to find the courage to face the world with a body that appeared disfigured, a brain that could not perform as it did before, and the fear that everything I did risked killing me. Yet I faced all that physical disability, I faced the world, and I allowed many others to help me physically heal.
Yet what happens when our misfortunes are no longer as noticeable, yet the largely unseen emotional damages are still felt deep within our blood, and shows us our deepest fears? For example, we get another job, but we have such fear of losing it and causing further financial woes that we cannot rise. Or, someone like me is so scared of having another stroke that he or she will not let himself or herself out into the world. How do we find the courage to get beyond that?!
Perhaps we can use the example of Jean Sok, the amazing b-boy dancer with only one leg, who I saw on ‘So You Think You Can Dance‘ yesterday. I found his dance absolutely beautiful and memorizing. What is different about him? As you will see in the video below, he came across as fearless, confident, and absolutely loving.
It is not easy to reach for and achieve our goals, despite our greatest tragedies. We must let go of the illusion and deceptive nature of the fears that hide out in our mind. We must also believe with complete faith in who we have been, who we are, and who we shall be. Then we must work hard for our dreams, be persistent and never give up, despite the rambling voice of our fears.
It is not an easy or short road, but it is a road that we can choose if we want to see our extraordinary selves. I am at the beginning of that road, walking behind role model like John Sok. With each step I take, I approach the wonder of me. I can then go back and help others travel the path from their misfortunes to their extraordinary selves.