All we have is what is on the inside
I was reading an article this morning in the Irish Times supplement " Insight" about a truly remarkable man, Mark Pollock. Mark lost his sight while we where all at Trinity College Dublin together, Mark was 22 at the time. Since then he went on to achieve the most unbelievable feats, many of them sporting achievements, culminating in being the first blind person to trek to the south pole, he completed that in 2009. In July 2010 after tumbling from a second floor window Mark broke his back and since then he has been in a wheelchair. He has such determination of character it is mind blowing reading the account of what has happened since then, he has set about finding a way to try and walk again. It was at the end of this inspiring article that I did a double take. Yesterday I meant to include in my post the poem by Rudyard Kipling called "If" as I wanted to say that Chrissie Wellington draws strength from this poem before all of her Iron man races. Then this morning to read right at the end of Mark's article that he memorised this exact poem, and he would recite it to himself during his Trek to the South pole when he struggled with doubt and despair. This poem is a father coaching his son in how to be a man.
" If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposter's just the same"
It keeps on happening for me all these coincidences. Last night an old College friend James was the first person since I started the Blog yesterday to donate some money to my LIVESTRONG Iron man participant page. James and Mark both rowed together for the Trinity boat club when we where all in college. James went on to row for Team GB and Mark went on to win two commonwealth games medals for rowing. Today I am thinking about all our separate paths. When you are young you cannot know what is around the corner. Disease, injury, illness , achievement, love, loss and joy. What astonishes me is when I keep on reading stories of people whether they are cancer survivors, or like Mark surviving unthinkable struggles, that they can keep going. We cannot control what will happen to us but if we can manage some sort of acceptance about what hand we are being dealt then we can dig in and use what we have on the inside to get us through almost anything. Whether it is the ups and downs of daily life, illness and yes racing too. I think I understand properly the term now that so many long course Triathletes use, including Chrissie in her book, when they say you have to dig in. When you just have to accept what is happening and then dig in and use what you have on the inside. The most important place of all....
IF you can keep your head when all about you |
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!