Here are a few true stories and facts that you might just find inspiring. I know I do.
Survival on Earth is a surprisingly tricky business. Of the billions and billions of species of living things that have existed since the dawn of time, most – 99.99 percent – are no longer around… Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favored evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely – make that miraculously – fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result – eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly – in you.
(Excerpt from A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson)
School can feel like it’s too daunting a task to undertake. If you do take on the task, it can feel like the ending is nowhere in site. Then there is the story of Gac Filipaj, a Yugoslavian immigrant and custodian at Columbia University. When he began working at the Ive League institute 19 years ago, he decided to take advantage of discounted English courses offered at the school to learn the language. Seven years later, he started taking undergrad courses. This past Sunday, May 13, 2012, at age 52, Filipaj graduated. He will continue to work in his custodial position while he pursues a graduate degree.
I’ve always loved this story. In the spring of 2011, Rick Hill traveled with his wife and kids from Lunenberg, Massachusetts to Hawaii for a vacation. On a whim, they decided to spend one day on Waikiki Beach. At the beach, a man walking by offered to take their photo so that Rick’s fiancee could be in the picture instead of behind the camera. “Ok,” the cameraman said, “Everyone say ‘Leominster!'” Leominster, it happened, was just a town over from Lunenberg in Massachusetts. Rick started a conversation with the man, Joe Parker, who apparently had grown up in Leominster. He now lived in Hawaii, and on that day was on the beach planning a last-minute surfing lesson for a client. The two men threw out names of the schools they attended and names of people they might mutually know. Eventually the name Dickie Halligan was brought up. “Do you know him?” Joe asked. Rick responded, “That’s my father!’’ Joe was stunned. “That’s my dad, too!’’ he exclaimed. Dickie Halligan had passed, and the two half brothers had never met before this moment. Rick, who grew up with his mother and stepfather, was never even aware that he had a brother growing up just a town over in foster care. The two brothers spent Easter weekend together, united at last.
Derek Redmond Finishes the Race
This video is from the 1992 Summer Olympics. Derek Redmond pulled his hamstring, and what happens next is incredibly moving.
Disabled Veteran’s Inspiring Weight Loss
Sometimes all you need is someone to believe in you.