Blessing In The Burden

I had the incredible privilege of spending the second half of October gallivanting around Australia! This was my second visit and it was such a joy to see old friends and meet a bunch of new ones. Another highlight of this trip was being able to share it with special friends – several who traveled from the U.S. as well.

While on this trip, Kyle (my 2DD Podcast co-host) and I had the opportunity to speak a couple times and even enjoyed brief Q&A’s when time permitted. During one of these sessions a young man posed a question I’ve thought about in passing but have never really considered. Now, that question has consumed me for weeks and has even become a filter through which I consider several events or experiences in my life. Thank you, Troy.

“If you could get rid of FA, would you, or would you keep it?”  

(Not “cure” it, but go back and experience life without it).

I didn’t have to think very long. It was easy to quickly think about all the amazing people and incredible experiences I’ve had because of FA. However, this questions is intensely emotionally charged because in that moment, I came face to face with both the blessing and the curse of rare disease.

If it weren’t for FA, I probably wouldn’t write this blog or maybe any blog for that matter. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with public speaking, I wouldn’t have this website, I wouldn’t have developed a nonprofit, I wouldn’t be in an amazing film, I wouldn’t have bore the Olympic Torch, I wouldn’t have been in Australia, I wouldn’t have a podcast and I wouldn’t ride a bike. In fact, I wouldn’t even own a bike.

I certainly wouldn’t appreciate how fragile and fantastic life is.

It’s funny sometimes how blessings are hidden in the midst of burden and chaos. Some days are harder than others, but the truth is, as Kyle put it, “I like who I am…” and I’m thankful for every pothole in the road and every turn in my journey. As my five friends in the van from Melbourne to Mornington Peninsula already know – of course there are things I regret and things I would change if I was given a do-over. But, living without Friedreichs Ataxia isn’t on that list.

There will always be things that I hate about FA, but my perspective won’t be changed.  

Things will always get in the way, slow us down, derail us, sidetrack us or cause a new plan to be adopted, but these things shouldn’t stop us from getting things done.

Keep your eye on the prize and get shit done, no matter what you’re up against.