Archive for September 19th, 2009

Be Inspired

I seek inspiration – in my writing, racing, parenting and in my relationship with God.  I look for it within myself, in friends and family and in people I may never meet.  It was not something I was consciously hunting for before.  If someone or something inspired me, that was great, but I didn’t expect to find it.  But, over the past year, as I have built a freelance writing career, I have made a choice to be inspired.  And I am.  Everyday, in a hundred ways, I am inspired.

I have found inspiration in a childhood friend.  He and his wife have chronicled their struggles over the past two months.  Two months that took him from living an average American life to being a cancer victim – bald, lying in a hospital bed, fighting an unexplained fever, losing weight by the minute because he can’t keep food down, not being able to spend the days with his children.  They have shared all of their pain and suffering, but most importantly they have shared their faith in God.  Through it all they never lost sight of their belief that God would take care of them.  This undying faith has inspired me.

Being a parent is my favorite role in life, but parenting isn’t always easy.  And to top it off, it is one of the most difficult areas to find inspiration.  Parenting is personal and so much of it takes place at home.  This week though, it was on the evening news and across the internet for everyone to see.  This week, Emily Monforto (see video) and her father were all over the internet and television.  Emily’s father, a Phillies season ticket holder, caught his first foul ball.  In his excitement, he presented the ball to Emily who turned around and proudly threw it back onto the field.  This was all caught on tape.  The best part of the tape though, was not the look of surprise on her father’s face but the hug he gave her afterwards.  That hug was a rare gift of inspiration for parents worldwide.

Epic Bill Bradley

Epic Bill Bradley

Athletically, I find inspiration in so many people.  Bill Bradley who is in England this weekend swimming across the English Channel after having biked across America and completing the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon through Death Valley this summer, has been inspiring me for months.  The actor/comedian Eddie Izzard, who is not built to be a marathoner, just completed a 1000-mile run through England to raise money for Sport Relief.  He ran 42 marathons in 53 days and raised £200,000 along the way.

And as though to prove my point, I woke up this morning to an inspiring story about Capt. Ivan Castro in my local paper. Though wounded and ultimately left blind when two 82-mm mortar rounds exploded near him in Iraq, Capt. Castro has since climbed the 14,270-foot Gray’s Peak in Colorado, run seven marathons, a 50-mile race and a triathlon.

As an athlete, I look for these stories everyday.  And when I am at mile 22 of the marathon and my legs just don’t want to go another step, I use them to propel myself toward that finish line, knowing that it can be done.

Inspiration is all around us.  Maybe it’s the way our next door neighbor encourages her teenager to shovel the driveways for our elderly neighbors.  Maybe it is your friend who shows up to school with the bandana hiding her bald head, still smiling at her beautiful daughter though you know how sick she is feeling.  Maybe it is the veteran you see on your local running trail running with his new prosthetic leg.   Whatever it is, it is out there.  Look around you. Search it out.  Be inspired.

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