In Monday Morning

An Alternative Path to Overcome Adversity, Anger, and Angst

“Walk towards the good in life and one day you will arrive.” – Atticus

How do you respond to uncertainty, adversity, and pain?

One option is to wallow, get angry and quit. We see examples of this in our offices, at our schools, and within our communities. It’s a corrosive attitude and leads to crossed arms, closed minds, and destroyed possibility.

There’s an alternative path that is best represented by Edie Littlefield Sundby. Her suggestion is simple: Walk on.

Let me explain.

Edie had just mortgaged her home to start a new business when she received a devastating cancer diagnosis and was given less than a one percent chance of survival.

Instead of accepting fate, Edie committed to fighting for each breath and rejoicing in each new day. She discovered that the more active she remained the more cancer treatments she could endure and the more success each had in attacking the disease. After one million milligrams of chemo, repeated rounds of radiation and a surgery that removed a lung, she decided to go for a walk.

With no promise of tomorrow, she wanted to do something radical and truly extraordinary today.

Edie shared with her husband of 42 years that she wanted to walk the 1,600 mile El Camino Real Trail from Mexico to Northern California. He resisted the idea, but Edie explained that she’d rather die walking in Mexico than lying in bed at home.

During the epic journey and months of walking, Edie experienced countless falls and penetrating fatigue. She endured hot days and frigid nights; arid deserts and saturated hillsides.

And yet, she walked on. With each step, she grew in clarity about who she was and what mattered most.

She realized the fear regarding cancer that gripped her at times was seldom based on what was actually happening and, instead, was always based on what she feared might happen next. While previously she had felt hostage to cancer, on the trail, she was liberated. Cancer had infiltrated her body, but it did not own her emotions, days or life.

(Edie was my most recent Live Inspired podcast guest and I asked if she ever got scared. You know, a middle-aged lady, walking 1,600 miles on her own, traveling through the mountains and high deserts of Mexico, with a single lung, weakened by radiation and chemo! You have to hear her impassioned answer… and the entire interview. Check it out here.)

For Edie Littlefield Sundby, cancer remains. Her dogged determination and contagious enthusiasm for life remain, too. As does her daily decision to walk on.

What this alternative path could mean in your life.

So, my friends, how do you respond to uncertainty, adversity, and pain?

You don’t need to go 1,600 miles to experience the gift Edie received, but you do need to embrace the lessons she learned.

Control what you can and let go of the rest. Be in love with your life and what you have, rather than a hostage to your anxieties and what you don’t have. And when the disappointments from yesterday or concerns about tomorrow creep in, breathe and go for a walk. [Tweet this.] | [Share on Facebook.]

Because in walking towards the good in life, you’re certain to arrive there.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

What are some things you do when fear creeps into your life? Please share in the comments below. Looking forward to learning from your walk.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Michelle
    Reply

    When fear creeps in I find the best calming agent is a cup of tea and some time journaling about my worries to Jesus. I will do this in the wee hours of the morning when anxiety bring me from a deep sleep, or during the day, even if it is only a few moments on a lunch break in my car.

  • Amy Frame
    Reply

    Amazing story!

  • Mary Jost
    Reply

    I try to talk to a person I trust about my fears. I than pray asking God to strengthen me . I try and think about the worst that could happen and what I would do . Usually this helps lessen my fears. I also take walks and enjoy nature and this helps decrease my anxiety.

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