She was born into a very poor family in a shack in the backwoods of Tennessee. She was premature, the 20th of 22 children and very frail. Her survival was doubtful, and at age four, she had double pneumonia and scarlet fever. The result was a paralyzed and useless left leg encased in a brace.
The doctors told her all of the things she would never do. Her mother told her she was bright and could do whatever she wanted to do. Two extremes of a spectrum – – – one we all face.
At age nine, she removed her leg brace and took a step. Another four years and she had developed a rhythmic stride. Then she began to look at possibilities – – -‘what if” she could run a race? She entered her first race at age 13 and came in last far behind everyone else. Race after race she came in last. Ignoring the pressure to ‘quit’ she continued.
In college, her coach saw beyond her limitations and saw her spirit. He trained her well. She raced against a German girl, Jutta, who had never been beaten. Wilma won. Yes, this is Wilma Rudolph who won three gold medals. Her dreams came to life!
When I read Wilma’s story, I was reminded of my journey to learn how to exercise. I didn’t start until age 50 and I had 50 years of not doing exercise unless forced. The first time I got on our recumbent bike I lasted 30 seconds and then slept for hours. What a puny beginning.
Just like Wilma, I didn’t give up. I pursued and over the years have accomplished things I never thought I could do. A small hiccup in August caused me to not exercise for about three weeks. So much can be lost in three short weeks that took years to create. But the dream is still alive – to be a fit, healthy woman the rest of my life. Starting back up, it was the same determination and the same baby steps. Each day, the progress is greater than the day before.
What about you? Do you dream about your health (financial, physical, emotional, or relational)? Do you let the ‘experts’ tell you what you can’t do? Do you let circumstances sabotage your efforts causing you to quit?
A dream must be in your heart and inspired by your desires. It can’t belong to someone else – it must be yours. Regardless of your age, your inherited strengths or weaknesses, you can create and live your dreams. Find that coach and community who see inside you and will believe in you. Look beyond your current results and see the dream. The more you see the dream, the more you are fed by encouragement and training, the more you do your part . . . there will be a day that will usher you into the fullness of that dream.
Is it time for you to dream again . . . or for the first time?