“Never, never, never quit!” – Winston Churchill (paraphrased)
What inspires you? I ask this because I wonder if you are like me, in that you need almost daily motivation to keep you moving towards whatever goals you have in front of you.
A friend of mine once told me that I inspire her. While she was not specific I assume she meant it regarding exercise, and not something like blurting inappropriate comments at work (which I have done) or burning down the building with microwave popcorn (something I almost did). It made me pause because we have been friends for a long time and frankly she knows what a dumb ass I can be. But it also had the reciprocal effect of inspiring me back. I mean, if I am someone’s inspiration, then it motivates me to keep trying.
In turn, I have been inspired by a lot of people in my life-mostly friends and family. Like my dad who began running in his late 40’s or my mom who used to walk six miles a day. My friend Dawn who helps me to be more accepting of myself or my friend Amanda who gave me the courage to go after a job I was afraid to reach for. Or my friend Shari, who asked me to run a half marathon with her, planting the seeds of belief and confidence in my ability.
My second half marathon, the Cellcom, I ran as a member of Team In Training for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, as a way of giving back for the research that saved my daughter’s life (she is a survivor). I had to fundraise, and for every donation I received, I asked if the donor had someone they would like me to run for. As the list grew, I became inspired by people who couldn’t run for themselves, and every step in every training run became a prayer for loved ones on my list. For my friend Lee, who was dying of pancreatic cancer (Miss you, Lee!), a co-workers sister newly diagnosed with liver cancer, a co-worker’s niece, a friend of my sister’s, a friend’s daughter who had already passed…the list was long. But each person on it kept me training, thru injuries, discouragement, and fatigue, until the day of the race.
My friend Vicki was recently diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS, for which there is basically no treatment nor cure. But instead of giving up, she has done her research and now uses a specific food plan, exercise, and natural supplements to help her keep moving forward. I am sure she has down days, but it’s not evident in her daily Facebook posts or in the positive way she greets these new challenges in her life. Reading about her journey (you can read about it too, here- Kickin’ MS) reminds me that each day is a gift and an opportunity for me to choose a healthy lifestyle.
Last November my good friend’s differently-abled nephew asked me to be part of his running team in the 2013 Bellin, through the My Team Triumph organization. This organization places differently-abled Captains with a team of Angels, who do the physical running while pushing their Captain in a specially designed stroller. However, it is the Captain who provides the heart and spirit that fuels the legs of the angels, and I can already tell that Joey is high-octane! I want to be in the best shape I can for this event, not only to make it fun and memorable for Joey, a courageous young man who has faced more obstacles in his 26 years than most of us will face in a lifetime, but to have a physical body that can match the joy and determination he brings to the table.
I have this framed Erma Bombeck quote on my desk from the year I ran the Cellcom:
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say “I used everything You gave me”.
It was a Christmas gift from Shari, and I refer to it often when I want to quit. It reminds me of why I am here, why I try, why I keep fighting. I want my life to count. I don’t want to look back on time spent frittered away, but on a life where I have invested the gifts given to me by God, and turned a profit for His glory.
My final request in this post is to ask that if you found inspiration in my words, that you would return the favor and tell me what inspires you! What drives you? What are your talents? How are you using them or how do you wish to use them? Hopes and dreams will remain hopes and dreams unless you speak them into being. Let me hear from you!