Tag Archives: Courage

It’s no Fairytale: Have Courage and Be Kind

Have Courage and Be Kind-10

Did you happen to see the latest rendition of Cinderella starring Lilly James?  If not, I highly recommend it.  I know it’s just a fairytale, but the messages it shares is golden.   I must warn you – it’s not a musical so don’t expect the mice to break out in song.

Cinderella’s beloved mother suddenly takes ill and in her final moments with her daughter she utters the simple formula for happiness, “Be kind and have courage and all will be well.”  Up to that point, being kind was second nature to Cinderella – it was a gift she inherited  from her mother.  But  to be kind to people who were intentionally cruel would take courage and soon be put to the test.

You know the story – she endured. She turned the other cheek. She went to the Ball. The clock struck twelve.

And…

With ash smeared face, straggly hair and raggedy dress, Cinderella gathered courage as she approached the prince to try on that legendary glass slipper. The narrator, her fairy godmother turns to the audience and asks, “Would who she is really be enough?”  She had no magic to help her this time – she was on her own to shine.  It was perhaps the greatest risk of all. “To be seen as you truly are.

Aren’t we all covered in ash?  Don’t we all struggle with varying levels of doubts, insecurities and self worth?  Do we question if we are good enough?  Do we have the courage to take the risk of showing who we truly are?  Do we acknowledge our infinite worth with gifts and talents that make us unique and genuine?

Recently a friend posted a photo of herself on Facebook, with permission I share; “This may seem like your ordinary gym mirror selfie. But to me it marks Day 1 of facing my fears. The gym. For me the gym is a scary place where I’m judged and embarrassed. But more than that, it’s a place that triggers me. It triggers what I’ve been suffering for years …..an eating disorder.

Going to the gym defeats me thinking I’m not getting where I want fast enough. It makes me think I’m not good enough. I hate seeing my reflection, or the body types I wish I was. But today is a fresh start. …..Today is Day 1 of learning to love myself.”

I am proud of my friend for her courage to be real and vulnerable.

Do we believe that if others knew our worst actions, our ugliest thoughts, our embarrassing secrets, and our weird habits that no one will like us?

Look in the mirror and repeat after me;

“You are more important than your mistakes – you are worthwhile, valuable, and useful.”

Thomas S. Monson spoke on having courage in the April 2014 LDS general conference,  “Courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right.”

The following April in 2015, Dieter F. Uchtdorf  spoke On Being Genuine.  “…If Jesus Christ were to sit down with us and ask for an accounting of our stewardship, I am not sure He would focus much on programs and statistics.  What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart.  He would want to know how we love and minister to those in our care, how we show our love to our spouse and family, and how we lighten their daily load.  And the Savior would want to know how you and I grow closer to Him and to our Heavenly Father.”

prince-putting-on-glass-slipper

Beneath the smudges of ash, beyond the raggedy clothes – the glass slipper fits – because YOU are enough.

 

One Word Can Make All The Difference!

Rich and his son Cole

Have you ever said something that didn’t quite come out right?  Boy I have, more than once!

The other day a friend, who was not afraid to be blunt and honest, sent me the following message:

“You mentioned in your video (A Very Real Matter: Same-Sex Attraction) that ‘LIFE IS TO BE ENJOYED, NOT ENDURED’. While I like the concept and wish it were true all the time, I disagree with that, at least in part.”

FINALLY someone called me out on the one line that had bothered me from the very first time I viewed the video of my son Sean and me.  We started filming at 10:30pm without a script – we spoke from our heart.  It was late, we were tired, and it was our last night to get it done. My daughter Kelsey, who filmed the 35-minute interview, was visiting for Christmas and heading back to her home the following morning.  After hours of editing to condense the message, Kelsey sent us the now 6-minute video.   As I watched it, I felt good about the message; the only line that I was hesitant with was;

“Life is to be enjoyed, not endured”

What I thought I had said and what had actually come out, were two different things.  The option for a “do-over” was gone. I KNOW everyone has challenges both big and small and YES we are often asked to endure HARD things.  It’s what builds our character and makes us who we are.  Our option was to take the whole line out or leave it in. Obviously we opted to leave it in.  The blog article which accompanied the video got it right:

“Life is to be enJOYed, not JUST endured!”  

One word makes all the difference!

The friend who called me out on the line in the video, is my friend Rich, he’s someone who KNOWS the meaning of enduring hard things, he also know the sweet JOYS of life.

I replied to Rich’s email thanking him for his honesty and asked him to read my blog where I had adding the word “just” to my plea.  He immediately replied:

“OK, I definitely can get behind the “Life should be enjoyed not JUST endured.  That makes sense to me.  In fact, it’s been my experience that the traumas and challenges in life, are what give the enjoy part of life a much sweeter taste!  Besides, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced personal growth sitting on a white sandy beach, sipping on a drink.  Instead, it’s been life’s traumas that have been the catalyst to growth and what has molded my character.  There are parts of life that we all must endure.”

You see, Rich survived a solo plane crash; this is the account in his own words:

“On September 14, 1987, I was piloting a Piper Supercub (a bush plane), looking for stray cows for my brother Pete.  Pete is a cattle rancher and had cows turned out in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness area in Eastern Oregon.  Shortly after take off during my last flight of the day, the airplane developed engine problems and I crashed at the base of the mountain.  When the plane hit, the wing tanks burst (I had just fueled the airplane) and aviation fuel flooded the cockpit, soaking me and then exploded.  I was trapped in the airplane.  My father and brother were on horseback, saw the airplane go down, rode to the crash site and saw how bad it was.  To this day I do not know how I got out of the airplane, but I honestly suspect some kind of divine intervention.  My dad rode down the hill to a road, was able to flag down a car who took him to a house, and the people happened to be home.  He called the emergency number and an ambulance happened to be a few minutes away from me servicing a logging accident.  They got to me in record time, and took me to the a little hospital about 45 minutes away.  The last thing I remember is one of the doctors cutting off my wedding ring with a little saw of some kind. I remained in a coma for 10 days.  I was 30 years old.  My son was 9 months old.”

The results of the accident were as follows:

  • 3rd degree burns to 75% of my body

  • 47 days in critical condition

  • Major infection – cheated death twice

  • 90 days in intensive care

  • 18 months in a pressure suit

  • 2 years at the hospital

  • 33 major surgeries over 6 1/2 years

  • My wife left after 3 months (leaving my son with me)

The blessings of the accident have been many, and I almost do not have room to write about all of them.  Some of the highlights are:

  • I got to experience what it’s like to totally depend on God.

  • My priorities were instantly correct, I care deeply about people and not so much about things anymore.

  • I got to experience the deepest love, sacrifice and dedication of my family.

  • I got to spend 24/7/365 with my son for many years.  What father get’s to do that?  And because of this, my son and I are closer than any other father and son I know.  We have a tight bond between us.

  • I tend to enjoy life, including the simplest of things much more than people who have not endured a life threatening trauma.

  • I got to experience more pain than most people have.

  • I enjoyed additional depth of typical life challenges, including financial, physical, spiritual social (like how to get a date).

  • My faith in God increased, as did my confidence that even life’s biggest obstacles can be overcome.

  • I know I can get through almost anything.

  • I became very passionate about health.

  • I now have the opportunity to help others going through similar trauma’s.

Rich goes on to say:

“Today, 27 years later, my life is not without problems.  They continue to come, and I have even more great stories about the difficulties in life. However, My son, is healthy, my family is healthy, I am healthy, and I’m still very confident God is in control.  I don’t know if I would want to go through another life experience like my airplane crash again, but having already been through it, I know the benefits that came from it, it made the whole ordeal beyond worthwhile and I feel very fortunate I got to experience it.”

THANK YOU Rich for being real! Being you! And for being a living testament that “Life is to be enJOYed, not JUST endured.”

Cole_and_dadRich and his son Cole