“Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit” – W. Clement Stone
Sometimes, usually most times, the best of us is glimpsed when the going is at its most toughest. It is no huge fear of intellectual superiority that brings the realisation upon us, that we all must have some sort of anchor even as we sail on life’s unpredictable waters. The question is when the storm hits, how firmly tethered are we to our anchor and more importantly what are we anchored to? It has always been a much easier route to just allow ourselves to be like flotsam on the seas however what exactly is the achievement of flotsam but to serve as deterrents, chaff and sometimes nourishment for another living organism but one with properly defined purpose.
I hit one of my low ebbs yesterday and it is quite difficult but oddly familiar encountering the blank stares from people when the subject of dystonia is brought to the fore. Well, nothing really to be alarmed about because this is from the journey of one who has had the very rug swept so violently from beneath him that calling it a fall would be be a stunning display of tactfulness and diplomacy. I have witnessed, sometimes in such an emotional rollercoaster of a ride that even vertigo is almost blissful, the depths of strength that we unknowingly possess and just like the five foolish virgins, we allow the best moments pass us by because we have failed to understand the times and therefore are ill-prepared when those moments arise. Nurturing that seed discovered during great diversity is definitely not a task for the faint hearted, it is what truly defines you however it frequently is associated with the tenacity to defy the odds so heavily stacked against us.
There is nothing that cannot be achieved when we truly set our minds, apply ourselves to and keep our heads and eyes uplifted even in the face of smirking attitudes of detractors and naysayers. Do give it some thought; because one of the very first lessons I learnt in science is that nature/life abhors vacuum and so regardless of your indifference, you are either helping prop people up or simply put, you are gleefully tearing others down or so viciously attempting to do so. Hey! You must be on one side and unfortunately the skill set to vacillate between both ends is yet to be created, so where does that put you? Facing the struggles of pulling yourself up is no mean task and quite daunting I must admit. However, the strength to push through the odds and limitations that we have been unwillingly thrust into is the beginning of a signature lifestyle that will be an example for many.
As I toiled with my perceived failings of yesterday, I was quietly reminded by JOIV that I am usually my worst critic and sometimes we need to be reminded of where we have come from. Dwelling on the successes of the past has the ability to either make you a dreamer with no urge to wake up from the self-induced slumber or it can challenge you to make today count with its own share of success, irrespective of how seemingly tiny the steps we have made. The bottom line is that it is best to totter forward on tiny steps, with the appropriate attitude of gratitude to God who is in charge and quietly steering us towards an end that is simply incomprehensible when we dare to imagine, than slide backwards. The reality is not that we are limited by dystonia or whatever fancy words that science has so eagerly tagged these limitations but how desperate are we to defy these convoluted words and constraints, and actually use the broken bricks in our life to fashion something worthy of being a Masterpiece. That has always been what we are, we just so obviously lack the knowledge and understanding!
The great heroes from the past had their own struggles, not like dystonia some will vociferously argue however these heroes would not be if they had succumbed to their limitations. Moses was a stutterer, Peter was uneducated, Paul was a fanatic and yet they changed their world, defying authority and the traditions of men that had been blindly followed for centuries. Beethoven defied deafness, Handel defied blindness, need I mention Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Fanny Crosby? They were defiant and refused to succumb to an acceptable symbol of helplessness, instead they defined themselves through these limitations and so I dare to ask myself, why not? I am unashamed to say that defying odds is no easy task and of course there will be days like yesterday where your limitations best you and ignorant people amuse themselves at your expense but then they are doing what they can only do, they did not create me and so why should I let their ignorance and misplaced priorities define me. That call is mine to make, and that towel will never be thrown into the ring regardless of how unsteady I seem or whether tremors are seen as fear or some other unrelated emotion.
I am defined not by the utterances of men but the carefully crafted promises of an infallible God, who does what He says He will do and without counsel from anyone – who dares to counsel Him anyway? Who can rewrite His script for my life? Who can relocate me from where He has placed me or has a better destination for me than His? He has blessed me and so what can stand against that? And so even as I set my face like flint, with the radiance of His beauty illuminating my paths, I know that I can do all things because He’s my strength and what inexhaustible reserves are available to me. I have walked through the valley at its darkest and emerged strengthened not weakened. Stumbled through thorns and emerged with the fragrance of the roses permeating my life. It is with this encounters that I am convinced that despite the low of yesterday’s experience, today is the present and marks yet another opportunity to have a better day – that is the choice I have made already in the wee hours of today. I am committed to finishing well not just for me but as a symbol of appreciation for the gift of my life, and the lives of a myriad of others that I am privileged to meet.
Remember this, no other man has the capacity to define your life but you and so instead of rolling over like a possum and play dead, I arise today determined to make it count for good. My limbs may tremble, doubts may lurk at the corners waiting to jump out but I will be defiant in the face of all the odds and make my journey worthwhile. That is what I, at the very least owe myself because there will always be many others craving for that ember of hope just to persevere, and that is what I can and do give.
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