I’m sure most of you either remember when the following event occurred, or have since seen the video, but as I launch the Friday posts featuring people who have overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve their goals or dreams, there was no one else I could possibly choose to be the first subject. Please take a moment if you can to watch this incredible video:
Now, I am not a crier. All through high school my friends called me “the ice queen” or, if they were in a generous mood, “the rock,”and with good reason. But like I have to do every time I watch that video, I just left the computer to go and get a tissue because that one never fails to get to me. Derek Redmond’s pain is clearly etched across his face, and no one would have faulted him for a second if he had allowed the medical team to carry him off the field. We would have understood, but we would have turned away from him to cheer on the victors, and in a few seconds forgotten his name. And we would have missed out on one of those rare, precious times when, for a few fleeting moments, thousands, maybe even millions of people around the world stop what they are doing, hold their collective breath, and watch, not wanting to blink and miss a single second, knowing that something special, something once in a lifetime, is happening right before their eyes. One of those rare moments when you know that, when it is over, you will have been changed, possibly forever.
If Derek Redmond had completed the race on his own, the moment would have been memorable. But what made it absolutely unforgettable was his father coming down out of the stands, fighting off security and medical personnel, and putting his arm around his son to help him finish the race. Truly an incredible moment – not only a shining example of the Olympic Spirit, but of the human spirit.
When I am discouraged and want to give up on my writing, tired of pushing through the pain of rejection and critical feedback and endless self-doubts, I think of Derek Redmond sometimes. The memory never fails to inspire me and push me to pick up my pen again and finish the task at hand, take a few more steps down the track that some days seems to stretch endlessly before me. And on the really bad days, I remind myself that I don’t have to run the race alone. That the encouragement of God, who has given me this gift and called me to use it, or other writers, friends, family, sometimes even a timely comment from a stranger, or an inspiring video, can be like an arm around my shoulder helping me to keep going.
After all, when the road is long and difficult and challenging, and you have lost count of how often you have almost quit and allowed yourself to be taken out of the game and forgotten, when you do cross the finish line, limping and in pain, and you look up to see the look of joy and pride on the face of your father, there is no greater victory than that.
Press on, my friends. Press on,