It’s isn’t Janet Jackson in a full length mink coat, of that I’m sure. I think the tag line is terrific – just misplaced.
We can all think of legendary people and moments for which books are written, songs are penned, clichés are born. And then there are the everyday legends who may have no famous (or infamous) public persona, but impact our days, change our thinking, inform our choices and enrich our hearts.
There are people in my past who are legends in my memory. My family is legendary – in more ways than one can define the adjective. And then there are those who come into your days and you’d be an idiot not to recognize the karmic element of your meeting. So it was when I met Chris. He wouldn’t agree with me, he would argue that none of it is a big deal and perhaps when our time together is over, I will quickly recede from his memory. That’s cool – he is forever etched in mine. Meet Chris –
I began training with Chris a little over a year ago. Given some of my physical limitations, I had major trepidation about going to the gym. Chronic pain is well, a pain – long scars that extend from the neck down to places that haven’t seen the light of day in years, makes ‘flexibility’ a dirty word. Tendons, fascia, ligaments that are just generally ornery – and that’s on a good day. My body and soul are truly yin and yang. I was afraid that at the least, I wouldn’t accomplish anything, and at worst I would end up doing some further damage to myself, because at core I am still competitive and will ‘play hurt’.
Chris lost his leg a couple of years ago. He was riding his motorcycle and was struck by a drunk driver. I’m not going into the specifics of his accident – it was gory and awful and with or without hindsight, life-altering. Chris was a trainer before the accident; he’s a trainer now. He is an avid competitor – it seems that he’s in a marathon or triathlon every other week. He hears a lot of praise when he’s pushing the envelope, and deserves all of it. But to me, he deserves it because he held on to his heart throughout this ordeal, he didn’t compromise on his life and he didn’t lose the ability to laugh. He adores his wife, relishes his friendships and family and knows how to have a good time. He still has to deal with the frustration that comes with parts that fail, waiting for insurance companies to do what they’re supposed to do, having to consider what most of us don’t even think about at all. He still has to deal with the ghosts that dance in his head (even though he doesn’t think anyone knows about them) and get up every morning and dare the dawn to get in his way. And let me tell you, the morning steps aside. As it should.
Chris’ will, his expectations of himself, his laugh…it’s the stuff of good character. The way his eyes betray him when he thinks someone is in pain, his sense of commitment, his frustrations…it’s the stuff that makes him human. The combination of heart and head, determination and focus, reality and hope…that’s the stuff of everyday legends.