A few weeks ago my wife and I participated in an annual charity bike ride, something we’ve done for a few years now. Over the years I’ve coached for numerous charities and been moved beyond measure through stories of courage and endurance that seem beyond the realm of possibility. The indomitable human spirit never fails to amaze, inspire and uplift me.
Shortly after last years ride one of our team members suffered a stroke; completely unexpected as are most strokes. A stroke can is a cruel happening and the ravages it can inflict on a body and mind can be debilitating beyond our understanding and requires the most patient of care – and here’s a big shout out to his wife AND his support team who traveled with him (as all shall remain anonymous, though his teammates and ‘support team’ will know themselves).
I’ve written and spoken on the power of goals and one of his main goals on his journey to recovery was to participate in this years ride. When one couples a truly meaningful goal with the strength of Spirit, is there any wall that cannot ultimately be breached? We would soon find out.
After months of grueling rehab no one could be certain this goal was going to happen or be reached since the stroke had greatly limited the use of one side of his body to the point that a year later walking unassisted wasn’t quite possible.
Saturday morning the riders gathered for the mass start and there he was on his specially equipped bike preparing with his support team gathered around him to ride the shortest distance option. They were there as much to help (if needed, and it wasn’t) as to encourage and motivate. The horn sounded and off we went. Cutting to the chase, the ride, for ALL could not have gone better.
That night at the awards banquet he was awarded with a specially created (and richly deserved) Come Back Rider of the Year (year my foot, decade!). We stood to applaud and then he arose and made his way to the front assisted only by his cane through waves of applause (and for some of us, the tears). Yet, the best was still to come.
The final day of the ride, goal one reached his Indomitable Spirit created a new goal giving him the power to ride 20 miles farther than the previous day – twenty miles!!
I saw him that afternoon and said, “Hey! How was it?” He looked at me with his sweat streaked face brighter than the noon-day sun and with a smile rooted in his very core he said, “Great!”
May that Spirit propel him to a complete recovery and may it forever continue to inspire me.