While my #LiveInspired vlogs typically come to you from my screen porch or office, today I wanted to come to you from a very different and very special spot- the graveyard where my grandfather is buried.
I had felt a need to come visit his grave this morning. And as I reflected near his resting spot, I began to think about how much living went into the lives of the people represented by the stones around me. Whether their lives were brief or very long.
And it reminded me that we may not know when our final day will come, but we do know the impact that we can have with our actions today.
So, let's step forward and remind those around us that the best is yet to come.
“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. The 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 out the link to the full interview below.)
For Edie Littlefield Sundby, the 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.
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.