Regardless of our age,ethnicity or background we are are born with an uninhibited, unassuming and limitless human spirit to do great things, to serve others and to live a meaningful life.
The human spirit asks us to be stronger when we think we are pushed to our limits. It asks us to be more courageous while we are confronting our fears when we think we have reached our breaking point. It asks us to go beyond what we believe we are capable of, pushing us to always strive for more, because it is in these struggles that we can find true life, a life free of the boundaries and limits we so often set for ourselves, to live a life worth living.
The human spirit is a warrior with high expectations of victory over some of life’s most difficult battlefields, it fights fiercely and never surrenders. It’s like a lion that lays deep within us, silently waiting for its prey, the prey of weakness, disease and fear. And as the prey approaches and tries to lay claim to its territory, the lion pounces, viciously tearing into our self limiting beliefs and doubts as it fights to maintain control of its territory and claim it’s triumph and victory over its prey.
As I sit in the room watching her sleep, I think back to the day, three weeks earlier, when we got the call that Jim’s mother, my mother-in-law, was not doing well and it was best that we came immediately to say our goodbyes. We arrived to the ICU and you could see the wounds caused by her battle against cancer, not just physically but emotionally, all within a few short months. She looked weak and exhausted as her family gathered around her, offering her words of comfort and encouragement as they anticipated her last hours. Silence hung in the air like a thick cloud as her sons watched over her, the looks on their faces speaking louder than the machines used to keep her alive. They made the decision to take her off the medicines and machines and move her to hospice so that she could be in a more comfortable environment and rest more peacefully, not expecting her to make it through the night. The night was long as each minute ticked by on the clock, each second seemed as if it was a hour. It was in these moments of despair and sadness that the true beauty of what we call life became alive through the spoken and unspoken words between a mother and her sons and I consider myself blessed to have witnessed one of the most beautiful displays of affection and love that I have ever seen. The next 24 hours were filled with conversations of healing open wounds, resolving past disputes and sharing the differences they have made in each others lives. 24 hours turned to 48, 48 hours turned into 72 and then the remarkable happened. The lion regained its strength and pounced once again on its prey, her fight was not over. With each passing day the lion could be heard roaring inside of her as her strength and clarity improved so much so that within a week she was sitting at a table playing cards with her family and even winning!
Now she has been moved to a rehabilitation center and is making great progress and getting stronger by the day. I have the opportunity to sit in on her physical therapy sessions and as I watch her push through the pain in anticipation of greater rewards I hear the battle cry of other lions fighting their own battles. I see the fight in their eyes, I hear the roar in their pain, but most importantly I am witnessing their spirits come alive. I admire her spirit and am honored to stand by her in this fight. As I sit in her room watching her sleep, I count the blessings in all that has happened and all that is yet to come because I know her fight is not over but I have witnessed her lion and it is still roaring.
You see the human spirit is weakened by self doubt and limited beliefs.It is strengthened by words of encouragement and praise rather than words of judgement and criticism. So be careful with your words because you never know how weak someone’s spirit may already be, including what you say to yourself.
No matter what the difficulties you are experiencing or the challenges you are facing just remember we all have a lion inside of us, don’t be afraid to let it roar.