“I remember promising myself that, should I live, I would rise up to meet this new challenge face to face and prove myself worthy of life…”~Terry Fox
It’s fashionable in our droll world so infatuated with egalitarianism to smirk at the aristocratic ideals of duty, honor and self-control. But every few generations a person is born who smashes our odd combination of hubris and cynicism. A person whom, it seems to me, is specially crafted by God to show the world just how much we can bear and still move forward, still remain good, and how much we can still care about other people. When we see these people, we feel ashamed for our own weakness, our own bitterness, our complaints about the trifles we face.
Terry Fox was such a person.
It is also fashionable in our egalitarian world to believe that we deserve everything merely because we breathe air. Being alive proves our value, and yet life, our society cannot be expected to require something from us. No, Terry Fox did not initiate a scientific breakthrough, he did not lead a mass movement that changed society and he was never interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. He was diagnosed with bone cancer at 18 years old. Eventually, doctors had to remove his right leg. Terry Fox, in an effort to raise money for cancer research, decided he would run from eastern Canada to ewestern Canada, a marathon every day for over 140 days, only resting 4 days in that period. He made it 3339 miles on one human leg before stopping, the cancer having crawled into his lungs by that time. Speaking with his mother afterwards, he said to her: “Mom, I gave it everything I had.” The Terry Fox Foundation has now raised over $500 million for cancer research.
I think we should pause and ask ourselves: Are we giving it all we have? Are we honest with ourselves? Am I even worthy of this life? The excuses can only go so far, and they do virtually nothing to better the world or our immediate situation.
In ending let’s look at a poem written by William Ernest Henley, a man confined to a wheelchair. His poem, Invictus, expresses the same spirit as did Terry Fox and St Paul: I have run the good race…..
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.