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?