Taking Courageous Action

October 14, 2013

As an avid cyclist and a member of my local YMCA, I see a lot that impresses me: cyclists that blaze down the bike path in the stifling heat and humidity, runners with unstoppable endurance and weight lifters that can bench press twice my weight with ease. When I see these athletes in action, I feel motivated to step up my “game” by pushing myself a little harder and farther. No, I’m not in a competition with them, but I’m competitive with myself.

As much as these athletes impress me, there are others in these same places that amaze me even more. These are people with physical challenges who, despite their challenges, show up every day with a workman-like attitude. When I see them, it’s not their athletic ability that impresses me…it’s their courage.

At the Y, I see an Asian woman in her 60’s who has suffered a stroke. She uses a cane to walk (slowly and deliberately) and then she carefully gets onto the rowing machine for an hour’s worth of rowing. There’s nothing impressive about her rowing…it’s not particularly fast. What impresses me the most is her courage to show up and get onto the rowing machine despite the difficulty and struggle to to so.

On the bike path, I pass a woman – in her 70s (I presume) walking at a slow pace. She’s thin and somewhat frail-looking and her gait is not a natural one. Sometimes she has others walking alongside her. But what impresses me is her consistency to show up. Every Sunday when I’m out there on the trail, she’s out there too. Again, there’s nothing impressive about the way she walks. However, the fact that she’s out there every Sunday blows me away. When I see her, I smile and feel blessed by her presence.

In our day-to-day lives, there are a likely a lot of people who catch our attention – people with natural gifts, talents and plenty of charisma. But I’m learning that the real heroes are the people who aren’t perfect in their activities, work and appearance…they are ones taking imperfect, courageous and consistent action.

What action or activity, however imperfect, are you putting off?

1 Linda October 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Tim … this is slightly off topic but your post reminds me of something I saw in LIFE magazine many years ago. The Lions Club had a full page ad showing a photograph of a 3 or 4 years old boy wearing eye glasses. The text said something like, “a lot of people will look at this picture and think ‘poor kid.’ We think you should look at him and think, ‘Isn’t it great that this child is already getting the help he needs to see better.'” I believe the Lions Club collects eye glasses and sees that people who need them receive them … and I believe they are active in trying to cure blindness.
Anyway, I guess it was a great ad because it has stuck with me all these years. And it just strikes me that it is that same attitude that you have adopted with the folks you write about.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Good attitude!

2 Tim October 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

Hi Linda:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the description of the Lions Club ad…sounds very interesting. Also amazing the ad had that kind of influence on you. I suppose the reason I wrote this is that I know there are always a lot of impressive people out there who get a lot of attention. A guy bench pressing 500 lbs who is groaning and screaming at the gym is pretty impressive. But I always appreciate and admire those with challenges who work hard to do the things most of us take for granted. We can have empathy and sympathy for these individuals. But I also have deep admiration.

Thanks again for stopping by, it’s very good to hear from you! Are you involved in the holiday sale again this year? If so, I’ll try to stop by. Take care!

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