As I mention in chapter 10 of my book titled, “It’s the Climb: Facing Life’s Storms and Remaining Resilient” I have carried in my wallet a treasured piece of wisdom for over 17 year now from an old Nike ad campaign-it reads in part:
Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it’s time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete.
Because you know it’s never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one.
JUST DO IT
When I first read those words in 1993, they changed my outlook. I was only 26 years old. I never knew how many times along my life’s journey that I would reach for those words again and again, and recall the power and impact of what they could mean for my life at each new phase and upon meeting each new challenge. I was inspired to write this blog post this morning because I am now convalescing with pneumonia, at my home in Virginia, alone. Sure, I have friends who care and are checking in on me, but I mean for the first time in my life I felt truly alone. My mom was not here, my family is all on the west coast, and I have had a lot of time to think about my life. Usually a dangerous thing (chuckles to self).
My brother and his wife of 14 years yesterday celebrated not only their wedding anniversary, but they also did something a bit odd for our time–they renewed their marriage vows in a formal ceremony by giving themselves the wedding they never had when they first got married back in 1998. They were both young, in grad school, they married quickly by eloping and they had my eldest niece Alex shortly thereafter. Knowing my brother as I do, I know he has never felt right about not allowing my sister in law’s family to give her a proper wedding, to have her dad walk her down the aisle, have our families all be present. It was a wrong he felt had to be righted. And although we all thought it was silly–to let the past be past-and to just keep moving forward; I have come to agree with his decision and the importance of why he did it.
Let me explain.
So many of us these days are the walking broken. It’s true. Oh, we smile, we look good, we sound good but inside broken. Hurt. Damaged. And most of it comes from old regrets, pains, things we wish we could change, but we feel STUCK. We feel as if we cannot right a wrong, or renew our minds, or mend our spirits. But, the hard truth is that we CAN. We can always choose to be fully alive, engaged, and renewed. Maybe more of us ought to think about renewing our vows to LIFE. To live it, be engaged in it, to make that course correction, to make that apology, to extend forgiveness. to Reconnect with God almighty in a truly wonderful and restorative relationship.
God knows I am so there myself. I need to do all of these things on some many levels. And each day that I wake up, I promise you I try to be better than the day before.
In the final analysis, my little brother has taught me a lot by doing the quirky out of order thing and re-marrying his wife after only 14 years. He knew that is was not too late to bring the family together on both sides, black and white, old and young to rally around a joyous ceremony. God knows we get so few of these times in our lives. I sadly could not be there to see it all, but my aunts and nieces sent me great photos and so I felt as if I was there. As I also say in my book, in chapter 8, I am proud of he Godly man my brother tries to be. He is a great father to his two daughters–the two lights of my life. And his desire to be a good husband, and to re-take his vows, when so many marriage are broken and ending is noble.
I think we can all learn a powerful lesson about having the courage to JUST DO IT! It’s never too late for any of us as long as we have the breath of life in us.