In the face of a Lion

Posted: July 31, 2014 in ADVENTURE STORIES!, Ramblings
Tags: , , , ,

Amy Purdy was a teenage snowboarder. When she was a teenager, she heard about a boy who lost his legs in a freak accident and confessed (on a Ted Radio Hour) having the thought that if the same thing happened to her, she would wheel herself over a cliff to end her life. 2 years after hearing this story (about the boy) she ended up getting bacterial meningitis (suddenly) and losing both her legs below the knee, her spleen, both kidneys and her hearing in the left ear. She considered herself lucky because it could have been both hands and her nose, too.

In less than a year, she got a kidney from her dad and partnered with a prosthetic maker to create legs for her. She went back on her snowboard and ended up being a 2-world cup winner in the Paralympics. (She has also been a finalist on “Dancing With the Stars”– which I really love).

The thought process and determination to get back on the board and snow is probably one of the most attractive traits to me in human beings. Someone who is faced with an absolutely impossible situation and (somehow) manages to pull through.

I’m not talking about the “stuck on 95 during rush-hour and you have to ‘somehow’ get home in time to let the dog who has a bladder problem out before she pees all over your floor” impossible situation. (It should be noted, however, that this *IS* impossible) But more along the lines of “You’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you decide that through chemo, you’re going to have the best year of sales of your life” type.

The latter happened to a friend of mine, who I’ve met in Africa. She said that even though it was difficult, she knew that she was going to beat it. “It was harder for my family because they were scared. but I threw myself into my business- not in to the sickness- because that wasn’t worth spending time thinking about. It was just trying to hold me back- my business was exciting!”

She ended up growing her business 20-fold that year alone. She’s one of the best and most humorous people I’ve ever met.

 

On the other hand, some people just get the “deer in headlight” moment and stay there. They freeze and can’t get past the crumbling problem. They spend so much time wallowing in the problem that they forget that they, alone, have the power to FIX (or get over/around/whatever) the problem. We’ve all been there!

I once knew a guy who was a registered sex offender. Long-story short- he was getting to 2nd base, in public, with a girl who had an abusive boyfriend. (News to him). The bully’s best friend walks by- calls out to them, she then files a sex-offender case against the guy because otherwise the bully would beat her up. That was 6 years ago and the guy is still crippled by this problem. Instead of taking life by the horns and figuring it out- he’s sitting there like a deer in headlights.

 

Which gets me to my real story:

We’re in Africa. We are staying “in the bush” where we hear lions and jackals and elephants (oh my!) at night. When walking from the main lodge (food) to our tents, we need to be escorted by a staff member (local). “Why?” You ask– I’ll tell you! Because a lion could be there! And what do you do when you are face-to-face with a lion? You stare at it… straight into the eyes- and you back away slowly. Eventually someone will lose interest and you both will continue on with your lives.

Even though this safety talk has been explained numerous times, they still have the gringos walk with locals because the locals know what to do. They don’t rely on their gut. (Gringo’s guts would say do one of the following:

1) Run away (what you do with bullies)

2) get big and loud (what you do for black bears)

3) play dead (what you do for crocs, bulls, elephants, rhinos, grizzly bears, etc.)

4) punch it in the nose once it gets close enough (sharks)

All of these would get you killed by a lion, btw.

 

But my point is that even though we are told to do one thing, when faced with a huge crippling problem, we don’t know what we would do. The best (and most attractive) people, in my opinion, are the ones who get over the problem/obstacle the quickest – without getting swallowed up… By life or lions.

 

Thanks for letting me share.

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