That Friday laziness came over me today. You know the one when you say, “It’s been a long week and I need a _______,” (fill in the blank with your favorite restorative indulgence) Whether it’s meditation, a glass of red wine, exercise, dinner out or a movie, we all reach a point when we want to escape and soothe ourselves. Boy, was I there today. Totally self-indulgent, thinking more about myself and what I needed… that is until I saw the clip of Roger Ebert on Hulu talking about how he communicates after losing his voice. It stopped me dead in my tracks.
The kids sauntered over once the discussion started and stayed for the whole thing. We watched so intently you’d think there was a space shuttle launching right before our eyes. What a courageous man. What a powerful message. I couldn’t hold back the water works. Truth be told, the kids even started to roll their eyes when I requested tissue for the tenth time. Yes, their mom gets a bit sentimental. Rightfully so.
My heart soared to learn about how Roger Ebert morphed what looked like an impossible situation to most of us into a fulfilling, rewarding life. He never gave up. When the TED discussion came to a close, I felt compelled to revisit a story I’d read about three years ago. Team Hoyt.
If you aren’t familiar with Dick and Rick Hoyt, you should be. They are a dynamic team, a loving duo, and a constant reminder to me (and many) to live fully. I’m not talking about counting our blessings and saying thanks more and all that jazz, I’m talking about finding out about what really means something to you in this world and pursuing it without limits. No boundaries. No finish lines. No stopping. Going beyond what you thought was humanly possible and then waking up and doing it again.
It doesn’t have to be physical either. Many of us are sitting back and saying, “I can’t run marathons, I have (this or that issue)” and that’s okay. Maybe exerting yourself physically isn’t your thing, but what is? Whatever it is that you feel passionate about, whether it’s planting veggies in abandoned lots or taking care of an older relative- do it, and do it with an open heart.
Buddha’s last words are something I think of every day, if not hourly. He reassured his followers as he started to leave his physical body. “Strive on tirelessly,” he told them when they asked how they would go on without him. The message has been interpreted in various ways, but this one resonates with me in a special way. Keep going with tenacity, perseverance and fortitude is what he is saying. Continue. Don’t stop.
I experience Dick Hoyt’s love for his child and I am rendered speechless. Can I summon a similar type of love, patience and courage every day as I parent and advocate for my children? Is it possible for me to break through my fear, discard my selfishness and release my ego long enough to meet every challenge before me with grace, with purpose? I ask myself all the time. Some days I respond with a resounding “Hell yes!” and other days I struggle to find the right words. Doubt can be like a sedative, coaxing us to give up a little bit more optimism each day.
Dick Hoyt has run more than 1,000 races with his son, and his son cannot move on his own. Dick swims pulling a boat behind him with Rick inside. After that Dick carries his son from the boat to the conjoined bike. After biking is done, Dick pushes Rick in front of him as he runs. Can you possibly imagine? Rick told his dad that he doesn’t feel handicapped when he is racing, and so they continue.
Now that my kleenex have piled like a small mountain on the table and thankfully my sobs have turned to sniffles I can run to my little wonders and hug them like I’ll never let them go. Sure, they’ll snuggle at first and then slowly let go as they turn their attention back to their art projects and games, but I’ll freeze that moment in my mind, what it feels like to have my five and seven year olds in my arms. These two little miracles in my life.
What do I need in this world? Very little actually. What do I have to give? Everything, and more.