“Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death.” - Desmond Tutu
Being the first is a big deal.
We celebrate the first student to answer the question, the first athlete to cross the finish line, the first visionary to prove the impossible, possible.
In most of our communities we even celebrate the first to be born in our cities at the start of a new year.
What better personifies the promise of a new year, the potential within it, the reason for hope, optimism and rejoicing than the birth of a child?
With 2018 just 47 minutes old, a little one was welcomed into the world at a hospital in Vienna. After calling other hospitals in the region it was clear that baby Asel was indeed the first.
The delight of the young parents on the birth of their first child was shared by the entire hospital staff and then with the entire community. Several posts were also shared on social media celebrating “Vienna’s New Year’s Baby” with the region.
However, what was intended as a cause for celebration quickly spiraled in a most unforeseen direction.
You see, Vienna’s firstborn of 2018 was born to Naime and Alper Tamga. In the picture shared online, the proud father embraced his exhausted young wife, as she cuddled her newborn with a beautiful smile. And because of her religious tradition, she also wore a bright pink head scarf.
Rather than the traditional comments welcoming this new baby, social media ignited in a flurry of hate speech and bigotry. Dozens of comments criticizing the family, disparaging their religion, demanding they return to their homeland, and much worse were posted online.
Baby Asel became the unfortunate posterchild for the fear-based, narrow-minded, anger that still exists in Austria – and in all regions of the world.
But as Desmond Tutu reminds us, good is stronger than evil and love is stronger than hate. With that truth as fuel, a few on social media fought back.
Comments welcoming this child and this family began trickling in, then flowing, and eventually deluging the negativity. The notes poured in not just from the city, but from the entire country and around the world. Tens of thousands posted, wrote notes and sent gifts congratulating the family and letting them know that they were welcomed.
Just days old, baby Asel quickly became the posterchild of a very different movement.
This child inspired the voice of the love-based, open-hearted, joy that exists in all parts of Austria – and all regions of the world – to be heard. This voice is fueled with a sense for gratitude for all they have, strives to make things even better, and enjoys a sincere optimism that the best is yet to come. It’s an attitude that awakens unity, new possibility, and life-giving solutions.
My friends, with so much negativity in our communities and world, let us collectively seek the promise of a better tomorrow. Let us desire, and then make real, a better community and world.
The good news as you enter your Monday and launch into your week is that good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
* * * * * Do you have a story of good conquering evil, love overcoming hate, light washing away the darkness? I’d love to hear about it! Share in the comments below.
"Don't wait for others to join you. Because you might wait forever."
Gretchen Rubin has sold nearly 3 million books worldwide and perhaps is best known for her books The Happiness Project & The Four Tendencies. She is a thought-provoking observer of human nature and happiness, or as her sister likes to describe her "a happiness bully."
She has an incredibly interesting story to tell; a graduate of Yale Law School who clerked for the nation's first female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor; the host of the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin; interviewed by Oprah; walked with the Dalai Lama; and an answer to a Jeopardy question.
She is a prolific researcher and note taker who is "subject to epiphany" and writes about issues simply because she finds them interesting. Her topics range from JFK & Winston Churchill to fame & money.
Today, Gretchen joins us to share her insights into happiness and how we too can capture more of it in our lives.
Join 700,000+ friends and listen to #LiveInspired Podcast S6 | Ep. #64 and subscribe: iTunes: tinyurl.com/mob8dnq Stichter: tinyurl.com/mvbu36o iHEARTRadio: tinyurl.com/kmm7vxp GooglePlay: tinyurl.com/myot748 My website: tinyurl.com/yd9u48zl
Gretchen Rubin #TheHappinessProject #SupremeCourt #YaleLawSchool #Podcast #WinstonChurchill #JFK #SandraDayOConnor #Oprah #DalaiLama #Happier #Jeopardy #iTunes ... See MoreSee Less
On my most recent #LiveInspired Podcast, my new friend, Rodeo Champion Amberley Snyder shared the harrowing story of a crash that left her without feeling from the waist down. And yet, it's the story of how her faith, strength, and love of horses ultimately led her back to the saddle that truly stuck with me.
In today's #LiveInspired vlog, I share a time from my own childhood when I too had to learn to get back up after a fall. And I acknowledge the person who reminded me that "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
May this story and Amberley's journey be a reminder to you that no matter how many times you fail at something you love, what's most important is that you try again.
What began as a simple joy for an energetic, little girl has transformed into the successful career for an established, inspiring professional rodeo rider and barrel racer.
She’s been successful at every level of competition, won the National High School World Championship in 2009, and even recently competed at what is considered the Super Bowl of rodeo, The American. After completing her ride, she received a roaring standing ovation from the 40,000 gathered in the stadium and was voted fan favorite.
It’s a remarkable accomplishment for anyone.
But what makes Amberley’s accomplishments even more remarkable is all she overcame to get there.
Just weeks after winning the National High School World Championship in 2009 Amberley was in an accident that nearly claimed her life.
While driving to the Denver Stock Show and Rodeo, her truck slid off the highway, onto a soft shoulder, flipped, and rolled repeatedly down the highway. At 70 miles per hour, she was ejected from the vehicle, slammed into a fence post, broke her back and immediately lost feeling in her legs.
Amberley was rushed to the nearest hospital where her life was spared, but the ability to regain the use or feeling below her legs was not. The doctors shared that she would never again regain feeling, never again be able to walk, and certainly never again ride.
Although crushed by the diagnosis, Amberley refused to be a victim to it.
Using the same faith, determination, optimism and grit that transformed a little horse hobbyist into a professional rodeo force, she resolved to prove the doctors wrong. Amberley desired to regain feeling, move her legs, relearn to walk and even return to the saddle.
Stunningly, after several surgeries, numerous procedures, months of therapy, lots of tears and a steadfast nightly commitment to try again tomorrow, Amberley was rolled out of her house toward the barn. Hoisted onto her favorite horse, Amberley was strapped in with her legs rubber-banded tightly to the horse to keep her from falling off. Still working on regaining feeling in her legs, Amberley’s balance was off, her feel for the ride was diminished, and the challenges to walking, riding and living remained massive looking forward.
But she was back on the horse.
Amberley is still working on regaining movement and feeling in her legs. She faces daily challenges physically. Yet, the adversity hasn’t stopped her from achieving any of her goals. She’s graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education, is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Counseling and continues to compete on the Utah State University rodeo team.
(In our most recent Live Inspired podcast, I visited with the extraordinary Amberley Snyder. The spunk, determination and joy with which she approaches every challenge in her life is certain to encourage you as you encounter challenges in your life. Listen to the entire conversation by clicking the link below.)
My friends, it’s likely we all face significant challenges as we enter the second week of 2018. Relational, spiritual, emotional, professional, financial and physical adversity is as much a certainty in the new year as it was in the previous.
We may choose to be victims by being reduced, diminished or defined by the adversity. Or, like Amberley Snyder, we may instead choose to be victors by being improved, strengthened and refined by it.
We spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the possibility of falling.
This week, don’t worry about the falls. Commit instead to simply getting back up.