IT’S A PITIFUL EXAMPLE for a gigantic truth that’s parked itself right alongside me like one of those huge roadside boulders in Southern California.
I was in my pilates class, and Jan–our superhero instructor– introduced a new, more difficult move that involved stretching forward to push down on a weighted bar while extending a leg behind you. It takes incredible strength and balance to create this horizontal body position, and it didn’t take long for me to determine I couldn’t do it.
But then I decided: This is too hard. This is too hard for me, given my weak shoulder. Considering my age. How tired I am. That rib thing. (I could go on and on.)
Then a whisper came that had already presented itself to me twice this week, insisting again:
You can do hard things.
MY DAUGHTER, ELIZA, has spent the last seven weeks 2000 miles from home. She’s there working with a beautiful, amazing child who spends every moment of his life doing things that are hard. Born with a tiny single genetic mutation, the simple control of his arms and legs requires enormous energy and concentration. He can’t talk or stand or walk, but spend five minutes with this seven year old and your very definition of determination will be changed. He fights for every movement, willing his body to do things it simply cannot do. He strives to understand, and to be understood, communicating in innovative ways that make the mere act a holy one. And he laughs. He laughs with such ease and with such boundlessness that joy fills all that is around him, all color and light, all pure, sacred goodness.
He stole my heart, this remarkable child, and I don’t ever want it back.
AND THERE IS ELIZA, who moved boldly into a new life in a new world, who gives so well in a job that asks so much of her. She is brave and strong, and I admire her willingness to step out and step up, taking it on even when it’s hard.
We can do hard things.
I will strive to remember this the next time I face down something that requires more of me than I want to offer, the next time my inclination is to quit or to turn and run toward an easier path.
We can. We can. We can.
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