Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pep Talk: "Keep Trying"

“Since a little kid I’ve always dreamed the best years would be my 50’s and 60’s,” was the enthusiastic comment from a beloved buddy over coffee on a recent visit to Portland, Oregon.

Your knucklehead scribe was struck with the irony. A long-time friend was looking forward with eagerness to what lies ahead despite a sobering truth: Multiple Sclerosis was betraying his body, especially the legs. The reality is, barring a miracle, the amazing Jim Fairchild’s ability to be ambulatory without assistance is threatened.

Whenever blessed to have the opportunity to encourage others, especially the efforts of A Stronger Cord, one of the main principles is that life rarely goes as planned. It was not in the father of two teenage daughter’s plans to, at 47-years-old, be working through the challenges of MS, and acceptance of its limitations, while maintaining an optimistic outlook about the future.

As we sat and chatted on a beautiful Pacific Northwest summer morning, the ol’ noggin was in overdrive. Admiration for sure. A wonderful man is trying to turn lemons, the heck with lemonade, into sweet and savory margaritas.

Long ago, Fairchild (producer) and this old sports guy (host) worked together on CU football coach Gary Barnett’s television show. Sweet memories of a cherished time. “I want to spend the rest of life encouraging others through storytelling. I want to encourage them to keep trying.”

Wow. The small-business owner’s spirit knocked me back into the comfy pillows of a hotel lobby couch. He’s dealing with MS, going through a painful divorce and still finding an internal reservoir of hope. We know from Proverbs that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.”  A guy who believes, considering his age, that the “Best is yet to come” focuses on that dream ahead of a debilitating disease, raising teenagers and the ending of a 20-plus year marriage? Are you kidding me?

Way to go buddy! My mind races to others who impressively ride this roller coaster called life with such an attitude. Bartender, a round for everybody to try and get intoxicated with such a spirit! It ain’t easy. “There are dark moments for sure,” Fairchild admitted. 

What’s causing any current angst? If you’re taking a breath at this time, you have challenges. We all do. It’s one of the central themes of the ASC Knuckleheads’ efforts to unite communities with wellness. We all have our stuff. Let’s use weekly fitness, relationship building and community service gatherings to build a stronger cord to one another. We’ll become more fit, connected and giving. Healthier and inspired to keep trying.

Our time together was too short. I’m blessed that darling wife does business in Portland. It gives me a good excuse to visit an inspirational dude. He does a podcast and we plan on doing one together soon.

Buddy, thanks for the reminder. It’s good for all of us. Despite current obstacles, the best may indeed be ahead. We gotta keep trying.

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