It’s All About Winning
Ed Connelly lurched and stumbled along the marble hallway, grimacing at the effort of walking and holding the heavy books in his twisted and gnarled hands. He fell into a chair in my freshman law school class, his tongue between his lips, fumbled with his notebook and finally got it opened, then gripping a ballpoint pen in his fist made big jagged marks on the page for his notes. The whole class watched his struggles.
He looked up, his eyes shining at his recent victory at being able to make it from the parking lot, up the stairs, and down the long hall to the classroom. He was positively merry! My heart melted.
Ed was born with severe cerebral palsy, as bad a case as I have seen and still be independently mobile. You couldn’t watch him eat. Every move he made was headed in the wrong direction until he forced his rebellious body to somehow finally get the spoon somewhere near his mouth, or to stop one foot from ramming into the other as he fought his way along.
He smiled and laughed in a choking sort of way when he was not trying to rein his willful body into behaving. He barreled along life using what he had to work with, and made it very well.
He finished law school and set up his own private practice in 1960, and the last time I saw him was in the late eighties. He was still practicing, and seemed as happy as anybody else. Ed is a prince among men.
It’s all about winning.
Jim Girard, a fraternity brother, and one the most handsome men I have ever seen, had no use of his legs. They were literally rags. His upper body was Herculean, and he could walk on his hands faster than I could run. He overcame, married, has children and is and doing well.
Stephen F Hawkin, total body paralysis; President John F. Kennedy excruciating pain every day; Franklin D Roosevelt, crippled; Michael J Fox, Lou Gerig’s disease; Christopher Reeve, quadriplegic. None gave up. How many more could I list?
It’s all about winning.
William Ernest Henley was in the hospital for over a year in horrendous agony, having his leg removed from tuberculosis of the bone. He suffered all of his life in grievous pain, yet he wrote Invictus while he was in the hospital:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
What is the difference between these men and others?
They deal with it. They ride over it. They know they are not their bodies and that they are spiritual beings. They have something to do and a reason to do it and will not let anything stand in their way.
There is a winner in each of us.
It’s all about winning. It is not about not losing. There is a huge difference.
Jack Chandler, in Dawn’s Revenge; Riggs McCall, in Command Influence; and Nimrod Woodbine, in Nimrod’s Peril, are faced with challenges that would cow most men. But they are winners and refuse to give up, realizing that win or lose, the only way out is the way through. To read about these three winners, check in at my website http://www.ldsledge.com, and read two free chapters each, and enjoy my site.