Finding Strength In Spite of Overwhelming Obstacles
Written By Bryce Smith

I got off the phone a few hours ago with my Great Great Uncle. He is in his late eighties now and is battling Leukemia, prostate cancer and diabetes. He has some heart issues and has fractured just about every bone in his body because he is too stubborn to stop riding his bicycle and well…let’s just say that he says that ‘cars are stupid’.

He has finally succumb to a stationary bicycle which he rides every day. Anyway, I gave him a call as my dad told me that the doctors said he was not doing so well. My dad handed me the phone and I was expecting to hear a dark and solemn voice that would need me to be a bit chipper, and motivational, and remind him that everything would be alright. Boy was I mistaken. He answered that phone and dove right in saying, “How ya doin ya’ lil’ whipper snapper? Are you still lifting all those damn crazy weights over your head? I can’t wait til they get me outta this hospital so I can go ride my bike in the backyard.”

I was in absolute disbelief. I was impressed beyond measure. Here is a man whose body is going through absolute hell and yet his mind is the sharpest tool in the shed. He has gone above his circumstances and made the choice that he is not going to suffer.

At that moment in time, I realized what a hero he was to me. He not only took my dad under his wing and taught him about the many walks of life when he was a little whippersnapper like me, but he showed me that he was an ordinary individual who has found the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. We talked back and forth about this and that but I could not get over how upbeat he was. We reflected on moments up in Mammoth and on spending time together in the great outdoors and how his hugs were always so strong that they were back crackers. He had every memory in such detail and his descriptions of certain moments had such imagery that it gave me a deeper emotional connection to his stories.

And then finally we began talking about the famous North Carolina State basketball coach who passed away a while back and gave one of the greatest speeches in sports history at the ESPY awards where he said, “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.” My Great great uncle is exemplifying this with each and every day that he lives.

For those of you out there that are out there going through a hard time or battling an injury or illness, just know that your circumstances do not define you. Your courage and your strength in the face of adversity do. Be brave when you feel weak. Make each day your masterpiece because you may not know who you are inspiring. Change the have to’s to get to’s. My uncle would love to be able to train on his bike and lift the crazy weights over his head, but his body will no longer allow him to. Many of your bodies do allow you to but you allow your body to be enslaved by a poor attitude.

Remember, your life is your story. Write well, and edit often. If you are not making the most of what your body can do, edit your mindset and get out there and maximize your potential. Edit the choices that you are getting so comfortable making, and make better choices.

You can create a platform for your success by giving your all the next time you go to the gym and be thankful that your body allows you to get after it. You must believe in yourself and all that you are. You must truly believe deep down inside that something inside of you is greater than any obstacle. The only thing stopping you from becoming the best you is you.

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