It has always been fascinating to me how strong and fervent the power of love can be. It can make the simplest and humblest individual into a person who is incredibly courageous, strong, and brave…especially in the time of harm and danger.
Such is the story that you will read today. I can’t help but think…how many people would have the determination, love, and bravery that this man, husband and son had when his life was at one of its darkest depths? It makes you think….
In March 2001, Japan got hit with the most devastating and deadly Tsunami’s that have ever hit the country. Millions of people lost their homes, businesses, belongings, etc., and tens of thousands of people either were injured or lost their lives.
One of the towns that was struck was named Ishinomaki where a man named Hideaki Akaiwa was working in his home.. Realizing his wife was trapped in their home, he ignored the advice of the emergency personnel and other professionals, who told him to wait for the army to arrive and help him with a search and rescue.
Instead, he found a wet suit, jumped in the furious water current…dodging cars, houses, and other kinds of debris that was being dragged around and carried away by the current…any of which could have killed him instantly. He navigated the now submerged streets in the pitch dark, freezing water until he found his house.
Swimming inside, he discovered his wife alive on the upper level with only a small amount of breathing room and pulled her to safety. If he had waited for the army, his wife, of 20 years, would have been dead.
But Hideaki wasn’t finished. A short time later, he realized that his mother was also missing. So he jumped back into the water and managed to save her life as well.
Every day, for weeks after the tsunamis struck, Hideaki got into the water on one-man search and rescue missions, saving countless lives. This proved that two natural disasters in a single day…and insurmountable odds…can’t stand in the way of love.
A little while ago, I read the following story that made me sit back and think about the incredible power of love and the importance of making it our goal to make a beautiful thing, last for a lifetime. We have to change our mindsets to a more positive focus…we need to WANT to achieve a goal instead of HOPING that it might happen.
I hope you enjoy this story…
While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about -the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jetway, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags.
He stopped right next to me to greet his family. First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father.
The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing.
He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be.
I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me.
I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?” “Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked the man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile.”Two whole days!”
Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”
The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!” With that, he and his family turned and strode away together.
I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, “What’cha looking at?” Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, “My future!”
We all experience difficult times throughout our lifetime. Some are more trying and problematic than others but through them all, we can learn from those experiences, either in a negative or a positive manner. Legendary NFL football coach, Bill Parcells, once told the following story (paraphrased a little) that illustrated the power of perseverance and determination of an athlete that experienced a grueling and challenging situation and emerged a winner because of it.
More than 30 years ago, there was a well-known, hard hitting boxer named Eugene “the Cyclone” Hart. Hart was heavily favored to win his next bout against a supposedly ungifted puncher, Vita Antuofermo. It was said that the only thing that Antuofermo could do was that “he bled well.” But, here’s the important thing, he had good attributes that you couldn’t see.”
During the fight, Hart dominated Antuofermo, knocking him all over the ring, giving him punishing blows and vicious punches. Antuofermo absorbed the punishment that was dealt to him by his naturally superior opponent, and he did it so well, that Hart became discouraged. In the fifth round, Hart began to tire, not physically but mentally. Taking advantage of the situation, Antuofermo attacked and delivered a series of quick punches that knocked Hart down and out, thus ending the fight.
“When the fighters went back to their makeshift locker rooms, only a thin curtain was between them. Hart’s room was quiet, but on the other side he could hear Antuofermo’s cornerman talking about who would take the fighter to the hospital. Finally he heard Antuofermo say, “every time he hit me with that left hook to the body, I was sure I was going to quit. After the second round, I thought if he hit me there again, I’d quit. I thought the same thing after the fourth round. Then he didn’t hit me no more.”
“At that moment, Hart began to weep. It was really soft at first. Then harder. He was crying because for the first time he understood that Antuofermo had felt the same way he had and worse. The only thing that separated the guy talking from the guy crying was what they had done. The coward and the hero had the same emotions. They’re both humans.”
The important question to ask yourself here is this: how did each man respond to the tough situation that they were experiencing? Maybe you are in an arduous position right now or, if not, one might be coming. How will you react? Like a hero or a coward?
Many of us struggle with a times of trouble or hardship during their lifetime. There are two directions that a person can go when they are experiencing a tough situation: they can either learn from it and become stronger because of what they have learned…or they can become negative, bitter and dwell on the quagmire of pessimism.
The people that make up their minds to overcome a bad situation by working hard and remaining focused on the task-at-hand, usually find themselves becoming a better, happier person despite of their unfortunate circumstance.
Thus is the story that I found recently on totalprosports.com that tells the tale of a successful boxer who competed almost 90 years ago. His story is a great reminder to us the importance of enjoying the things that you do and when unpleasant times come your way…you can overcome ANYTHING…if you put your mind to it!!
Billy Miske (1894-1924) was by all accounts one of the most under-appreciated boxers of his era. He had a record of 48-2-2, which included wins against some of the biggest names in boxing and losses to two champions. But it’s not Miske’s boxing prowess that makes his story inspirational. It’s his willingness and determination to make the ultimate sacrifice for his family.
You see, Miske was diagnosed with a terminal kidney disease by his doctor, given 5 years to live, and told to retire. However, because he knew his family was depending on him financially, he kept jumping the ring and told no one—not even his wife—about his illness. Eventually, after a one-round knockout loss to the great Jack Dempsey, he finally decided to call it quits. But just 11 months later, with his family struggling to get by, Miske somehow conned promotors into giving him a huge fight.
By this time, he could barely walk and thus could not train for the fight. Nevertheless, he entered the ring and knocked out his younger opponent in the 4th round. He took the $2,400 he earned to buy back furniture he hap pawned several years ago, as well as some toys for his kids and a piano for his wife. Then he died just a week later at the age of 29.
Think about that next time you complain about your job.
There has been an untold amount of research over the years that the power of positive thinking can have a fantastic effect on the way a person lives their life and how they feel about themselves. They have better self-esteem, self confidence, a healthier outlook with life, suffer less stress related illnesses, etc. Many successful individuals in all areas of life, become that way because of the approach that they have towards their life, the jobs they have, their faith, and other aspects of their life. For example, athletes use a method called “mental imagery” in which the athlete closes their eyes, visualize game situations that they would experience in real-life competitions, envision themselves reacting in certain ways, etc. Then, later on when they are actually playing in a actual game…they perform better because they have experienced the situations many times before.
Transversely, there is also the flip-side…the power of negative thinking. People fail many times because they either do not envision themselves at succeeding at a certain task or job, or they lack the confidence, motivation, or will-power to accomplish a specific goal.
Such is the case of the story of one the greatest tightrope walkers of all time, Karl Wallenda. He walked tightropes over great distances, high in the air, and he did so without a safety net.
As he grew older, Wallenda continued to do his death-defying walks. He performed the same breathtaking stunts up into his seventies that he had done as a young man in his twenties.
Then in 1978, he fell to his death while walking a tightrope between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
His wife was interviewed on television several weeks later and was questioned about Wallenda’s fall.
“It was very strange,” she said, “For months prior to his performance, he thought about nothing else. But for the first time, he didn’t see himself succeeding. He saw himself failing.”
Mrs. Wallenda went on to say that he even went so far to personally check the installation and construction of the wire itself. “This,” she said, “was something Karl had never done previously.”
There seems little doubt that Karl Wallenda’s negative mental imagery and fears contributed to his failure.
The lesson and encouragement is this: Believe in yourself and be confident knowing that you will succeed with the tasks, jobs, and projects that may come your way. Stay strong and persevere when things or situations get tough and be assured, that you will be rewarded with the satisfaction knowing that you just enjoyed the power of positive thinking!
Throughout a lifetime, there are many times and situations that people that can have either a positive or negative effect on their pursuit of accomplishing a goal. Some individuals get discouraged, disheartened, or dispirited when some obstacles get in their way and they simply give up or lose focus on attaining their desired objective. Other people take a bad circumstance and decide to make “lemonade out of lemons.”
Today’s little poem is a story about an oyster that will serve as a reminder of how we can successfully accomplish our goals that we set in our life despite some things may cause us pain along the way.
The once was an oyster whose story I tell,
Who found that sand had gotten under its shell:
Just one little grain, but it gave it much pain,
For oysters have feelings although they’re so plain.
Now, did it berate the working of fate,
Which had led it to such a deplorable state?
Did it curse out the government,
Call for an election?
No. As it lay on the shelf,
It said to itself,
“If I cannot remove it,
I’ll try to improve it.”
So the years rolled by as the years always do,
And it came to its ultimate destiny – stew.
But this small grain of sand which had bothered it so,
There are times throughout our lives that we can face situations that are very hard and difficult to deal with…finances, a job, a marriage, depression, health issues or numerous circumstances. Sometimes, there are issues that occur with a person that an individual cannot do much about but make the best of the “hand that they were dealt.” Nevertheless, the way a person handles their situation will greatly effect the direction of their life. They can either persevere, face their adversity with a positive attitude and decide to inspire others or become depressed and disheartened.
I recently came across the following story of Kayla Montgomery. This story is not just an inspiring tale but it is also one of the best examples of perseverance that I have come across over the past few months.
It is my hope and desire that it may inspire someone to look at an unfortunate circumstance that they may be dealing with, with a positive outlook and attitude.