From the very moment I met Brandon and Jenny I knew they were a different caliber of people. Of course they are genuine, sincere and warm but it was more than that. It’s the way they carry themselves, each other, their family and those around them. It’s the way their presence alone causes you to lean in and straighten your shoulders. It’s in the way they look you in the eyes when they speak and the weight that falls between their words, knowing they mean every spoken syllable.
Brandon and Jenny love big.
Today, Brandon is sharing with us about their sweet, warrior daughter, Liv. His book, Special Strength: Lessons from Livia is due out Spring of 2020. A lens maker and perspective shifter in many ways. I know his insight will make a major impact on us all.
It happened again yesterday. One of the lessons from that beautiful little girl God gave me the honor of calling my daughter.
Man, she’s beautiful!
Livia had an appointment to try out some wheelchairs yesterday. Moments like these seem to rock me a little bit. (Maybe it was just the price tag on these bad boys! Holy smokes!)
Admittedly, sometimes I block out the current circumstances she’s in and just keep on trudging with my faith and optimism, and then moments like these arise and while they don’t necessarily bring me down, they do force me to face our current reality. When most kids are walking, we’re still learning how to hold our head up. When most kids are saying “Momma,” “Daddy,” and “I love you,” we’re “cooing” and finding unique ways to communicate.
But………………here came the lesson from Livia:
We’re still making progress!
While progress may be slow, it’s still progress! What if it takes 5 years or 10 years to get where it only took 2 or 3 years for other kids to get to? Progress is still progress, optimism still wins, and comparison is the thief to joy.
This lesson from Livia reminded me of some moments in my past where I’ve experienced slow progress.
I remember when I was a junior in high school, we had a bad football team. We could put some points on the board, but we couldn’t stop anyone. We’d put up 20-30 points a game, but we’d give up 40. We finished that year 1-8 I believe, but at the time, it didn’t matter who we played against, I still always thought we had a chance to win no matter how tough the opponent. That “what if?” has always circled around in my mind. We always had a “puncher’s chance.” I still believe that way. As long as you possess the will to fight, you got a puncher’s chance!
The next season we had one of the programs best seasons. We had to go through the struggle to get better.
I also remember this lesson as an underclassmen on the high school wrestling squad, where I was practice partners with upperclassmen who were stronger and more skilled than I was at the time.
This is where I learned to “brawl.”
“Brawl” you ask?
Yeah, I learned to take an ass whoopin’, and then I learned to get back up and get my ass whooped again, get back up, get my ass whooped again…….until my practice partner would say, “damn LaRue, you don’t quit do you?” Thank you to those who dished out the ass whoopin on me, those were great lessons!
Eventually, I got to pay those lessons forward.
Don’t even get me started in what I see in most adult men and young men I see these days. Ya’ll need to remember or learn how to brawl.
Progress moved at a snail’s pace in those moments in my life. My wrestling progress went as follows:
7th grade: very average to below average (Junior Varsity)
8th grade: well above average (Junior Varsity)
9th grade: average (Varsity)
10th grade: average (Varsity)
11th grade: well above average to excellent (Varsity)
12th grade: well above average to excellent (Varsity)
That’s a 5 year process folks!
This isn’t about me or wrestling, it’s about the process. You don’t have to be good at something in the beginning to become great at it down the road.
Thanks for the lesson Livia! Keep making strides, keep brawlin,’ and keep sharing your lessons with us.