“We never know how high we are,
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.”
Watching the Tour de France in July is one of my favorite TV viewing experiences. The drama! The obstacles! The suffering! The digging deep and overcoming suffering. It’s all there on view. Again and again it reminds me that just as Tour riders find the strength to climb mountains and travel hundreds of hot, grueling miles in a day, so I can find the strength to tackle whatever obstacles I encounter on the page – and in myself.
When we dig deeper, magic often happens. When we dig deeper and really push ourselves past the point we think we can go, we find extra energy. And resolve. And we can “touch the skies.”
Consider the story of John Degenkolb, winner of Stage 9 of this year’s Tour de France. As one cycling journalist described his hard-fought victory: “Then, we had joyful John. Degenkolb’s victory was poetic justice after his 2016 career-threatening crash, loss of a close friend and the adversity he has endured in recent years. He didn’t hide his emotion afterwards. He couldn’t.
“Post-race interviewer Seb Piquet asked: what’s going on in your mind? His face red with effort, the German began a two-minute unburdening, his voice trembling: ‘Pure happiness.’” https://www.nbcsports.com/…/2018-tour-de-france-john-degenkolb-e…
“Pure happiness” – what a gift! Pure happiness after overcoming so much. Just two years ago, a terrible crash threatened to end John’s career. Many people wrote him off and said he’d never even ride again. He lost a beloved friend. Other sorrowful moments assailed him. Yet he got back on his bike and went on to win one of the toughest, most demanding stages of this year’s Tour. What grit! What an inspiration!
Bravo, John – ride on! May we, too, find the strength to dig deeper and write on!