I am fascinated by people who internalize their love for a cause or a person so much that is drives them to do extraordinary things.
Years ago, I found out about a man named Rory Fanning. He served in the 2nd Battalion Army Rangers with a fellow soldier named Pat Tillman. Pat Tillman is a story in and of himself. A safety for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL, Pat turned down millions of dollars playing professional football to enlist in the US Army following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in the mountains of Afghanistan in April of 2004.
Rory Fanning was serving in the same unit as Tillman and left the Rangers 1 month after Tillman was killed. He set out to literally walk across the United States going from city to city, town to town to honor the legacy of Pat Tillman.
I remember meeting Rory when he walked through our city. He stopped and spoke to one of our schools about who Pat Tillman was. It was incredible that a young man would literally take almost a year of his own life, alone, to sleep in the woods, be faced with all sorts of dangers from weather to animals to crazy people to his own health to ensure Pat Tillman would not be forgotten for what he sacrificed for his country. I kept up with his journey on Facebook as he chronicled his trek and experiences. I remembered my admiration for him. He ended up writing a book about his experience called Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America.
In 2012, the North Carolina women’s soccer team was visited by a young girl who was being treated for cancer at a nearby Duke cancer center. She had dreamed of playing for the Tar Heels. Her name was Kelly Muldoon. The team was inspired by her fight and dedicated their season to her. Any time Kelly was in town, she would sit on the team bench. The players would all write “Kelly” or “KM” on their wrists to remind them who they were playing for. NC ended up winning the national championship that year playing for Kelly.
These are both very inspiring stories and there are tons more I could write about or that you are aware of in your own world. I think deep down the reason we all love these true stories is because we too want to do something extraordinary. But we are waiting on the inspiration.
Sometimes things just happen that come completely out of nowhere and the only thing we know to do is act. I think that is what happened in Rory’s case. But most of the time, we are waiting. I don’t think we intentionally are waiting around for something bad to happen. But through our uninspired living caused by insecurity, fear, sometimes contentment with the status quo, we are in fact waiting on something to move us toward something extraordinary.
The question that is like a branding iron near my heart and a boomerang in my mind is
Why wait for someone to die?
Why wait for someone to get sick?
Why wait for an accident to happen?
Why wait until the doctor tells you that you have cancer?
Why wait until there is a tragedy to rethink your life?
Why wait until you die to give away your money?
Why wait to strive for greatness until you meet a little girl that is battling cancer? Why wait to play hard until you are behind?
Why wait until your teenager straightens up to tell them you love them?
Why wait to share your testimony until the “time is right”?
Why wait to do something extraordinary when you could do it now?
Over the last year, I have had thoughts about what I would do if I got diagnosed with cancer or some other disease. Or had an accident that blinded me or rendered me unable to walk. Oh, how I would show the world how to fight and the power of the Holy Spirit to make beauty from ashes. Oh, if that happened to me (or rather for me), I would have a platform to inspire people.
Why Wait? Those things may happen, but why wait until they do before I do something extraordinary. Why wait until I may be unable to experience the fullness of the extraordinary.
Everything we need to do something extraordinary is already inside of us
We already have it. Our problem is we wait for someone or something to break the glass and reach in and pull the alarm. The spark already exist to ignite the fire within us. Why Wait?