So, with that - and with the celebration of Thanksgiving still lingering - I thought I would share some inspiring stories:
- Just over a year ago, a very good friend of mine was in a horrible accident. It wasn't certain this person would survive, and if so, it wasn't certain what quality of life she would have. It's been a long, painful road over the last year for her and her family...and all of her friends who continued to pray for her. I saw her just a few weeks ago and she has made tremendous progress. I don't think it necessary to go into details, but let me tell you - to be able to be with my friend and talk like old times, to witness her strength and ever-present optimism and faith...she amazes me so much. Say what you want, but I truly believe Someone was listening to those prayers.
- This past weekend, my wonderful grandparents celebrated 73 years of marriage. 73. I struggle to think what 20 or 30 years might look like, but 73? They have experienced war, death, caring for elders, illnesses, and so much more - things that would tear any couple today apart - and there is still so much love there. I think about how many people I know who have divorced or are in unhappy marriages and how easily people give up. It ain't easy, and my grandparents would be the first to tell you so. But it is a partnership, and it takes compromise from time to time. I continue to learn so much from them.
- A couple I know recently gave birth to a beautiful baby...who was born with Downs Syndrome. It's one of those genetic disorders that, unfortunately, is not discussed much and is often at the center of gross misunderstanding. Public insensitivity and ignorance abound. Still, from day one, my friend and his wife fell in love with this bundle of joy and the love grows stronger every day. And from their corner of the world, they are trying to educate people a little more about this disorder. Their story is such an inspiration to me.
- A few weeks ago was the famed New York Marathon. Being as how I haven't run any sort of distance since my cross country days about 17 years ago, I am always impressed by people who train and run marathons, half-marathons, Tough Mudders and such. I always feel a little bit...how shall we say...fat and lazy? These races are no joke, and neither is training, and when a friend of mine trained and ran the marathon for the first time - mind you, a person I did not know was physically fit in any way - I was inspired. No, I'm not preparing for a marathon. But it got me thinking that nothing is worth anything without a little pain and hard work. And although I push myself everyday to do the most I can do, do I really? Is it enough? It's time to step up.
What inspires you?