Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Impossible Dream

Let me sing you a song.

“To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

“To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star”

The Impossible Becomes Possible
What is your unreachable star? 
  What mountain are you attempting to climb that looks impossible? 
    What goal is still in sight yet still out of reach? 
      Are you a conqueror? 
        Do you have an Impossible Dream? 

If you do, then you are in the company of some greats when it comes to possibility dreamers, you know. 

Roger Bannister dreamed of nothing but running.  He was the first man alive to run a less-than four minute mile, and his 3.59.4 minute mile became a possibility in 1952.

John Kennedy dreamed that Americans would one day explore the moon and beyond.

At age 70 Harlan Sanders had just started frying chicken.

Erin saw in her students what no one else saw.  In a tough inner city school Erin Gruwell (Freedom Writers) changed attitudes of hate and despair and prejudice into acceptance and growth and possibilities.  She was a possibility dreamer who gave feet and wings to her dreams, and the dreams of her students, and they worked together as these dreams became possible.

I have a quote hanging on my office wall and it reads:  “Only those who can see the invisible can accomplish the impossible.”

So what is your impossible dream?  What beats inside of you that continually stirs your secret longings and wishes?  Do you sometimes feel that you will explode unless you accomplish this impossible dream?

To run where the brave dare not go
I met a high school student recently and she is going on a YWAM summer mission’s trip?  She sees possibilities for impacting lives for the greater good and she is running to that dream.

To try when your arms are too weary
Are your arms weary of trying and trying again?  Try one more time, and then try again.  Winston Churchill said “Never, never, never give up.”

No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
I am hugely impressed with Lance Armstrong’s grand success at winning seven consecutive Tour de France bicycle races.  He never looked back when his diagnosis of testicular cancer came knocking.  He got treatment, got over the cancer and pedaled his way into the history books and became a symbol of a conqueror and a possibility dreamer for all of us.

To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause
Can you say
    I fought giants and won.
        I conquered dragons.
            I climbed enormous mountains.
            I helped people along the way
        I overcame debt.
    I graduated from the University
     after my kids were grown.

I learned how to do _____.
I read.
I studied.
I won!
I rose above it all, no matter how high, no matter how deep, no matter how far!

And the world will be better for this,
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star.

Go, dream your dreams
Give them feet and wings
And live your life without regret!

(The lyrics for The Impossible Dream are written by Joe Darion and from the musical Man of LaMancha)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Road to Withdrawal

In nearly two years of blogging, this is perhaps the most important message I have ever put in writing.  I confess, I borrowed this excerpt from the book The Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent.  It is available from Amazon and a worthy read.

And now, the story.

“Many people who missed out on hearing words of blessing take the road of withdrawal.  Convinced they can do nothing to earn words of love and acceptance, they give up and travel down the road of apathy, depression, and finally withdrawal. 

“A classic example of this is found in a film that circulated several years ago.  As the movie opened, we saw several children waiting for their school bus.  The sun is out on a cold January morning.  Snow covers the rural countryside like a beautiful, white blanket.

“All bundled up for winter, a few of the children are making snowballs and throwing them at a fence.  Others laugh and talk and stomp their feet trying to stay warm; all except Roger.

“Standing by himself at the edge of the group, Roger is starring down at the ground.  Several children run right by him in excited conversation; others crowd around him when the bus finally comes, But Roger never looked up, and the other children never spoke to him or acknowledged his existence.  It’s almost as if he was invisible.

“The children were eager to see who could get on the bus first.  They rushed to their seats, happy to be out of the cold air; all that is, except Roger. 

“Being the last one on the bus, he wearily mounted the steps as if climbing each step required a monumental effort.  He stopped briefly and looked expectantly into the faces of the other children, but no one invited him to sit with them. 

“Heaving a sigh, he slumped into a seat behind the driver.

“The driver slammed the door, released the compressed air breaks.  He took one look behind him to make sure the road was clear and then slowly pulled away from the curb. 

“After only a few miles, Roger suddenly dropped his books and staggered to his feet.  Standing next to the driver, steadying himself on a metal pole, Roger had a wild and distant look in his eyes.

“Shocked by his sudden ill appearance, the bus driver asked, “Are you all right?  Are you sick or something?  What’s the matter, kid?”

“Roger didn’t answer, and half out of frustration, half out of concern, the driver pulled over to the side of the road and opened the door. 

“Roger walked down the steps of the bus and suddenly pitched forward into the snow.  As the opening scene ends, we see the bus driver standing over Roger’s body, and we hear an ambulance siren in the distance, but somehow you know its coming will be too late.

“This scene is from the excellent educational film A Cipher in the Snow, a film designed for teachers but one that speaks to anyone concerned about nurturing and helping others grow and succeed.  It is a true story of a young boy who actually died on the way to school one day and the resulting confusion over the reasons.

“Medical records indicated no history or problems in either Roger or his family.  Even the autopsy shed no light on his death.  Only after an interested teacher looked into his school and family background were the reasons for his death discovered.

“This teacher found that Roger’s life had been systematically erased like a blackboard.  In his first few years at school, he had done well, up until problems began at home.  His parent’s marriage had disintegrated, and a new step-father on the scene never had time for Roger. 

“When Roger’s mother tried to pay some attention to him, the new step-father would get jealous and find ways to limit the time she and Roger were together.  Like being pushed away from a seat near the fireplace, Roger was now left with only the cold ache of indifference.

“As a reaction to his home life, Roger’s school work suffered.  Homework assignments were either turned in late or not at all.  Tired of his apparent apathy, his teachers gave up on him and left him to work alone.  He began withdrawing from the other school children.  Roger would not begin a conversation, and soon other children wouldn’t bother to try.  Roger was retreating into a world of silence.

“In only a few months, everything and everyone of value to Roger had either been lost or taken from him.  With no words of encouragement, he felt like a cipher -- an empty zero. 

“Roger was not killed by an infirmity or a wound.  He was killed by a lack of words of love and acceptance.  Roger withstood the painful silence for as long as he could.  Ultimately, however, the lack of a word of kindness and esteem from his family and friends acted like a deadly cancer.  After months of pursuing its course, it finally ate away his will to live.  He died -- a cipher in the snow -- believing he was totally alone and unwanted.

“Are words or their absence really that powerful?  The wise man, Solomon, thought so.  In the Bible, Proverbs 18:21 says this.  'Death and life are in the power of the tongue.'

“If we struggle with speaking words of love and acceptance to our family or friends, another proverb should encourage us.  Again, it is Solomon writing.  'Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do so.'  (Proverbs 3:27)”

          It’s your move.  

Go to someone right now.  Say the words of love and esteem.  You just might make a difference in one person today.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Saw Love Today

I saw love today.  It appeared while I was watching a couple in their early 60’s hold hands as they walked down Main Street in my town where I live.

I felt love in the kind smile of someone I passed on the street while shopping yesterday.

I heard love in an apology being offered in an overheard conversation at the booth next to me at our local Ruby’s Hamburger restaurant.

I saw love and heard it recently when my granddaughter Aida stopped playing with her Polly Pockets dolls and looked up at Carolyn and said, “Nanny, I love you.”  Doesn’t that just melt your heart?

I see love often in everyday life.  Sometimes it’s a glance from one partner to another at unguarded moments.  I've seen it a dozen times when my adult step-children, J. Paul, Cari and Paula, offer a kind and gentle word of esteem and affirmation to one of their children, just because they exist.

I feel love every week after Carolyn receives my blogs in her in-box.  She sends me some kind of love note just to express her love, her appreciation, or her kind words about something I’ve just written.  That is love out loud.

I've had many other readers write to me or stop me in passing just to say, “I love what you wrote today.”  Those moments encourage me.  Love shows up in those moments too.

Do you see love as you go about your daily life?  I hope so. 

Look for it in the next stranger you meet.  Seek it in those close to you.  Express it to someone who does you a kindness, whether tangible or intangible. 

And especially, especially, say the words to your family members and trusted friends. 

Oh, the power of a well-placed and well-said            

“I     LOVE     YOU!”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Word about Courage

I am a reader.  I have to be in order to find enough material to spark the ideas I seek in writing a weekly blog.  My recent favorite read is Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write.  She covers the gamut on a dozen topics of interest, relative to writing, and often they can be stretched to other applications as well. 

For instance …

“You do not need the courage 
to write a whole novel. 
You need the courage 
to write on the novel today.” 

I don’t know if any of you want to write, however, I do know you have a dozen other issues that confront you on a daily basis that need to be confronted and dealt with in a timely manner.

We can’t read War and Peace in one setting, but we can read it in its entirety a few pages at a time. 

Relationships don’t get mended with one conversation, but you start the process with one moment of courage when you begin the reconciling.

My son-in-law is a building contractor and he builds beautiful homes.  I’ve never know Erich to finish a home in one day.  But he works every day on each project until the job is finished. 

Do you need the courage just for today to do something?  Is there a conversation that needs to happen, a wall in need of paint, or a document that needs to be written?

All you need is the courage to do something today that moves you closer to what concerns you, or excites you. 

There are no three-step-solutions that need to be presented here.  I don’t know of any workbook that we need to follow.  All it takes is a simple dose of courage, just for today. 

A Dose of Courage

Step up, screw your courage to the sticking place, and write, talk, make a phone call, start the business, clean out the closet, get the paint can out, or whatever it is that is staring you in the face and begin the process. 

               One dose of courage.  Just one. 

Those kinds of actions have given birth to page-turning novels, block-buster movies, impressive monuments, institutions that better mankind, and lives of immortal stature. 

Just have courage for one moment in time. 

Just one dose of courage, 
just for today.