Look, I don’t mean to play down your own experience. No doubt, you’ve been through things that would’ve stopped me cold.
Life is tough.
But check this true story about a boy who got dealt a bad hand — absolutely not his fault.
But most of all, think a bit about how he played that hand.
His brother lit the fire
His big brother was the fire-builder for the country school they attended.
One cold morning, the older boy grabbed the fuel can and poured a splash into the stove to soak the damp kindling.
But he didn’t know someone had replaced the kerosene with gasoline … or that there were live coals under the ashes.
The explosion left one boy dead and severely burned the legs of the youngest.
Doctors first warned his parents the little guy probably wouldn’t live.
But he did.
Then they told the parents the boy would never be able to walk again.
He was too young to know it was impossible
But this kid was only seven years old.
He didn’t know enough to believe the doctors.
So he told everyone who came by to express their sorrow that they shouldn’t worry.
He planned to not only walk again, but to run.
Most felt even worse for the kid after hearing that.
It’s bad enough to be crippled for life … but to be in denial about it … that’s a heart-breaker.
Turns out the boy was right.
From no hope to world-class athlete
He kept trying until he was able to pull himself upright alongside a picket fence. He started pushing a kitchen chair (like a walker) inside the house. Outside, he grabbed the tail of a mule and had to keep up while it plodded toward the watering hole.
By the time high school rolled around, he was able to play on the football team (despite not having any toes on his left foot).
In college, he made the track team.
He also set a new world record for the mile run.
And in 1936 he won the silver medal in the 1,500-meter race at the Olympics.
Chances are good he would’ve taken the gold in 1940, but Olympic events were cancelled that year because of World War II.
How he did it
When a reporter asked him why he chose not to accept his fate and wallow in self pity, Glen Cunningham said this:
Complaining about something I had no control over would have diminished what I was trying to do.
I can’t top that story. Not by a long shot.
I was complaining yesterday because a guy was blocking gas pumps with an RV. Before that, I was whining about the critters that keep eating my garden vegetables before I can.
Is there a lesson for the rest of us in the Glen Cunningham story?
Here’s one I’m hearing tonight:
If you know what you’re “trying to do” and stay focused on that … you won’t have to worry about getting caught up with the petty stuff.