They had that special grace, that special spirit that said give me a challenge and I’ll face it with joy. – Ronald Reagan
In January of 1986, pain was felt across the United States as our nation mourned the loss of the seven astronauts aboard the Challenger space shuttle. President Reagan addressed the country that evening. I came across and listened to his speech at my office desk this past Friday afternoon. Between spreadsheets and meeting notes, his words stopped me cold. At the time I wasn’t sure why, but the quote above specifically felt so important that I wrote it down on coffee-stained scratch paper and kept it safe in the pocket of my oversized denim jacket for the rest of the day.
The entire speech is inspiring, powerful, and quite possibly the most impactful four minutes of my entire week. I strongly recommend you listen to the full address here.
It wasn’t until three days later, during a guided yoga practice in Prospect Park, that I was able to place President Reagan’s words into the context of my own life and our world in 2017. I spent the entire 90 minutes of sun salutations and downward dogs thinking about the heart-breaking events currently burdening our nation, and I pieced together this blogpost in my head.
Typically, my blogs are fueled by emotion, however this is my first blog post since June. Since then, I celebrated a milestone birthday, took a solo vacation, and celebrated one full year of life in New York City. Though these all had a huge impact on my life, none sparked a grand, blog-worthy, emotion quite like I anticipated. These events instead felt somewhat trivial, and I worried that sharing my celebrations was inconsiderate considering the political issues, natural disasters, and other heartbreaking events taking place in our world.
Life in 2017 is challenging, there is no question. I know I am not alone experiencing heartbreak over the terrible storms and fires taking place across the US. I know I’m not the only one confused and worried over the political insanity on Twitter, in the news, and overheard on the street. The strife and events taking place in 2017 can and do pose very real threats to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Even without the events I’ve mentioned, maybe life in 2017 has burdened you with distance from your family, financial strife, a failed relationship, sickness, or loss of a loved one.
Facing life in 2017, with a smile and positive attitude nonetheless, is a challenge. But it’s not an impossible challenge. l left today’s yoga practice feeling no less heartbroken about Hurricane Irma, for example. However, I did find comfort acknowledging the control I have over life’s hardships and challenges and the impact they have on my well-being.
If you’re overwhelmed with life in 2017, you’re not alone. But know that everyday we have the opportunity to face our challenges, no matter what they may be, exactly as President Reagan described the seven astronauts aboard the Challenger— “With special grace, and a special spirit that says give me a challenge and I will face it with joy.”
I’d love to suggest exactly how we go about facing life with grace and joy at all moments, but I know there is no clear code to that equation. Loving our neighbors, helping others, finding comfort in familiar moments, and sending multitudes of prayers/energy/positivity to our nation might be a good start.
Like always, you and me we got this.