One of the most inspirational woman I have ever known is Mercy May, a 58 year old lady who has been working part time for my family for the past 20 years. Mercy has had a limited education, she lost her parents when she was quite young, she adopted her alcoholic sister’s son and brought him up as her own, she forgave and took back her unemployed and cheating husband who died a few years later, she is often supporting random members of the family who stay with her, she lost a grandchild in a shack fire, and she has just agreed to raise a 3 year old family member whose mother died recently. Through all of this she has managed to smile and keep a positive attitude to life and a trust that God will give her strength to get through what she needs to. She is one of the most trustworthy, strong, kind, and open hearted people I have ever met – she has very little but is so generous with the little she has.
The two of us have laughed together, cried together and celebrated together – I think the best way to describe our relationship is that in our very different ways we are mothers to each other. My children love and respect her and she somehow manages to get them to do things that I am unable to.
If we had to measure Mercy on the 20 new ways to measure success that Joshua Becker recommends, I believe she would be doing a lot better than most of us.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown refers to a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt in 1910. In it, Roosevelt said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I have spent many years watching school sport and admire the courage that children have to get into the ‘arena’. I have been to very few matches where parents have not yelled from the sidelines – criticizing passes, moaning when players make mistakes, judging the selectors and coaches, and complaining about the incorrect decisions that the referees and umpires always seem to make. Are you one of those parents?
I thank all our children, coaches, selectors, referees and umpires for getting out into the arena and to dare greatly. Without them we would not have had all those enjoyable moments of being next to our friends on the side of a sports field; and without them we would ultimately not have international sport!
Where in your life are you the critic?
Where in your life are you not ‘daring greatly’ and getting into the arena?