If you’ve ever seen the flick entitled “Unbreakable,” you know that Bruce Willis’ character walks away from a fatal train accident as the sole survivor without a scratch on him. After this incredible event, he evaluates his life and realizes he’s never really been hurt by anything. He’s had no broken bones or tragedies to speak of, and he harbors some superhuman abilities.
In contrast to the Bruce Willis character, Samuel L Jackson plays a character named Mr. Glass. He has a disease that renders his bones very brittle, and he is so extremely fragile that his bones broke even upon his very birth. He is the yang to Willis’ yin, his polar opposite.
I often think about these two extremes, and I feel lucky in life to find myself more in the “unbreakable” category than the “broken” one. This week, I was involved in a horrible car accident on the highway. The auto repair shop called me today after the truck came in on the tow truck and asked disbelievingly, “Are you okay?” He said it was the worst damage he’s seen to a truck from an accident in awhile, and I didn’t suffer any injuries, nor did the other passengers in the other car involved.
I’ve raced a thousand and one races, I’ve climbed mountains, I’ve been in planes, trains, and automobiles. I’ve been placed in danger many times. I’ve never broken a bone, I’ve never really injured myself despite how hard I push sometimes, and I’ve managed to always come out on the other side of a hairy situation relatively unscathed. That’s not to say things haven’t EVER happened.. my husband can tell you a story about that time I scared him to death after a bad bike accident that left me with a mouth full of broken teeth and a concussion. But, again, it could have been worse. It always can. I could have DIED.
I hear it a lot. You. Are. SO. SO. Lucky. And I agree, I am. And we all are, though maybe in different ways. We just have to choose to see it that way.
I’ll never forget the year I ran the Pacific Crest Half Marathon with my dear friend Rhonda and it was extremely hot that day. There was no shade out on that course and the sun was relentless. At a certain point, I looked over to her and asked jokingly, “Remind me why we are doing this?” And this runner behind us quietly said “We are doing this for all the people who can’t.” That. THAT shut me up. She was right. And when we got to the end of the race, we found out that someone died that day, doing the triathlon. He had drowned. There were also several people struggling over the finish line, dehydrated and staggering. We were fine. We were lucky.
My friend Rhonda can’t run anymore. Her knees are so bad that she’ll need surgery, and her racing days are over. She wishes she could complain like the good old days. Meanwhile, my body keeps trucking along, running more miles and taking on bigger challenges every year. I’ve had a few injuries here and there, but nothing debilitating. I haven’t had to give up on any of my races .. YET. I count my blessings.
So the point of all of this is this .. some days you are made of glass and some days you are made of steel. Cherish those days that you end up on the top, even if it was a rough road to get there. Always remember what you can do that others cannot, not because you are better than them but because your life affords it. Because some days for some things, you won’t be able to be the superhero. Luck has taken you far, but it won't always. And it's not JUST about luck. It's about hard work and doing the right things too. And sometimes it goes the other way and even if you do the right things, it still won't go your way. But however you get to the top of your mountain, enjoy every moment for what it is, even if you fell a few times on the climb. The views are worth the price.
Take mental snapshots of the good moments in life, whether it’s the feel of the breeze on your hair while running through the mountains, or the reach of your son’s arm around your waist. Choose to live every moment instead of struggle to see over someone else’s shoulder to anticipate what comes next. It couldn’t be as important. There's no reason why you can't be made of glass AND steel.