This morning, I came across the most fascinating video. I'm one of those people who's pretty plugged in, most of the time. I do take time away from my phone, and away from social media, but generally day to day, I'm very engaged in consuming information, spreading information, blogging, writing, etc. So, one of the first things I do in the morning is check my text messages and DM's, then email.
The first thing I came across this morning was a video of Claire Wineland. Claire was, at the time, an 18-year-old young lady born with Cystic Fibrosis. At the time, she was told that she had a year to live. As she is introducing herself in the video, she says,
"Doctors say I have around a year left to live, but that doesn't really matter to me, because death is inevitable, but living a life we are proud of; That is something we can actually control."
Hold the f***ing phone. Can you imagine?
I can't imagine. I literally can't. I've watched by the wayside as people faced death. My sister, who passed away 2 years ago, we talked a lot towards the end. We never specifically talked about death, but I was there in her last hour. We laughed a lot towards the end, but obvious death was looming. And it was tough, and sad.
It's hard for me to imagine that in that time, keeping such a positive outlook. And this is coming from someone who was on a date with someone recently who is relatively familiar with me, and she referred to me as "pathologically positive".
As I watched more of the video, you saw a portrait emerging of someone with limitless bravery, and a fountain of positivity. As a young lady who'd spent most of her life being told she was dying, I suppose you have to build a comfortability with it.
I think in some ways, this isn't much different than what soldiers deal with in a war zone. Each day could be THE day, and yet you proceed as best you can. And although I've lived that life, been in that situation, it's still hard for me to imagine a child, growing into an emerging adult, walking that path. Because ultimately, that's not a path that a child should have to walk, right?
I'm always fascinated by overwhelmingly positive people. I think ultimately, I view them as kindred spirits. I try to be that person. Internally, I really try to be that person. Because I know ultimately, things could be worse.
I travel in a world where everyday, I see people who find themselves in unfortunate situations, in unfortunate places, without many of the things I have, ranging from a job, to someone warm to sleep at night, or in a bed to begin with, or a car to travel from point A to point B in. I try so often not to complain because ultimatey, what have I to complain about? As I often say to my students, I'm determined to make my struggle my strength.
As you go on, you find that Claire has created her own 501 (C)(3), Claire's Place Foundation. Beyond that, Claire is still alive at the age of 21, and is now contemplating and awaiting the opportunity to have a lung transplant, which would dramatically extend her life expectancy.
I think there are so many takeaways from the story of Claire Wineland. For me, it's a reminder if someone who has to spend days on days in a hospital, or hours receiving breathing treatments, or someone who is told repeatedly that "you are going to die soon" can wake up smiling and facing each day, then what the fuck could I frown about? Of course I have struggles, and of course I have issues in my life that create discontent and discord, but Claire reminds me to be strong.
To find my inner strength.
Imagine if we all worked to make our lives meaningful, to uplift the lives of those around me, what this world would look like? Imagine what Chicago would be.
Be the change you want to see, right?
WE CREATE CONTENT, ACROSS VARIOUS PLATFORMS, THAT EXPLORES LIFE’S BIG QUESTIONS, CELEBRATES HUMANITY, AND CHAMPIONS CREATIVITY. AND WE DO IT WITH INTEGRITY, HEART, AND HUMOR.
And kudos to Upworthy for sharing Claire's story across social media platforms, which is how it popped up on my phone screen.
Finally, here is the aforementioned video:
Yes, the video is 30 minutes, and yes, it's worth every minute.
Needless to say, I was immediately captivated by Claire Wineland. She left me inspired. Thanks Claire.
So, who inspires you? Please share names or links of people who are inspiring. Sometimes, I need my fire stoked. What stokes your fire? Please comment below!
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Filed under: People