Your bravery astounds me.
You are strong beyond measure and imagination.
You are powerful, caring and giving.
You embody hope, courage and inspiration.
You, my Warrior friends, inspire me to be a better person, a better friend, a better beacon of hope.
Your stories are incredible.
I just received a message from a reader, A., that brought me to tears. She is an amazingly strong, courageous woman, just like all of you. And she gave tremendous perspective to my day…
I’m in San Diego on a business trip, one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the United States. I’m right downtown, nestled on the water in an amazing hotel. My view is of the bay. Ships and tugboats chug through the channel throughout the day. Sunsets are incredible. Runners dot the walk along the water. It’s a phenomenal place, and I am so blessed to be here.
The day started on a rougher note .. As worry over various parts of my life has creeped into my psyche (yes, I’m a worrier), I’ve felt my hands begin to ache. Then my feet.
Beating back the discomfort with sheer will and knowing that I needed a workout to calm my overactive brain contributing to the flare, I searched out the gym facility yesterday.
“Closed for renovation until further notice.”
This morning I awoke, convincing myself that I could “improvise” in the room with strength activities. I glanced outside, not wanting to chance the still-dark morning on a running trail I wasn’t familiar with in a city I haven’t visited in 20 years while it was foggy and cold.
I was frustrated.
As I lumbered through uninspiring movements, my joints – all of them it seemed – cried out.
My knees. Ankles. Wrists. Elbows. Fingers. Anything that had any sort of swivel cracked, creaked and cried out.
It was ridiculous.
Pissed, I stopped and made myself some coffee.
Then I reduced myself to tears.
A big puddle on the floor. I was not happy.
If you know me, you know that I’m extremely hard-headed. When something doesn’t go as I expect or as I envision, I can get a little, ummm, irritated.
That was this morning.
But .. As so many of us do, I started by putting one foot in front of the other.
It was a slow, hesitant movement.
But it was movement nonetheless.
It was everything I could muster to keep going. One foot. In front of the other.
That’s all my tired soul and body could come up with.
One foot forward.
I donned my suit, heels (painfully so) and professional garb for the conference beginning at 9 am. I didn’t have the heart to head down early to mingle and make connections. The best I could do today was to simply put one foot in front of the other to walk into that convention room.
And I did it.
It took every effort from my body, my mind, my psyche and my heart.
But I did it.
And it turned out to be a great day at the conference.
Then I put another foot out and told myself, “Let’s go walk on the trail by the bay.”
So I did. I set out to take pictures (my excuse to get my ass outside).
But then I decided, “Hmm. Let’s take a walk.”
So I walked.
As other runners passed by, I became inspired.
“Hmm. Let’s take a jog.”
So I did.
I did one lap.
I felt good.
One foot. One foot. One foot.
It was a “one foot in front of the other” type of day.
But, you know what?
I made it.
I made it through today.
Some days will be a “one foot” day. And that’s okay.
Thriving with RA isn’t easy. But it can be done.
When you feel a “one foot” day coming on, just look at the next step. That’s it. Look at the next step in front of you, nothing further.
Take that step.
Now, what’s next.
Take your next step.
The days that you take the steps, you will feel incredibly accomplished because you didn’t give up.
You persevered. You overcame the odds. You kicked RA’s ass.
After my run, I made my way back to my hotel, through the lush lobby and up through the quiet elevator. When I returned to my room, I fired up the computer, noticing a new email come across from the blog.
That’s when I sat down to read A.’s story.
Her story is unique, yet vaguely familiar. She’s a hard worker, consummate optimist, mother, wife, daughter, spirit lifting, smiling, cheerleading, softball playing, dancing girl. And she’s an inspiration who’s learning to live with RA. Her words brought me to tears.
In the moment that I read her email, I was overcome with the feeling that there is something so much bigger than my “one foot in front of the other” day at work.
It’s YOU. All of YOU.
Your stories of life .. Your triumphs, your accomplishments .. Of thriving and overcoming and kicking RA’s ass.
Your stories are incredible. You embody everything that I strive to be. You are all amazing.
Thank you. Your imprint is far beyond what you can imagine.
You make a difference, every single day.
And you inspire me each and every day.
May your “one foot in front of the other” days get you through the toughest times, and may you relish in the sunshine, ocean breezes and bright thoughts for as long as you love the warmth on your lips.
With love, from San Diego,