Power Start To My Week

Getting a good run in Monday morning after a spiritual Sunday was a great start to my week

Jake Olson was a longsnapper on the USC football team from 2015-2018. He lost his complete eyesight when he was 12 years old after a battle with retinoblastoma

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to give a talk to the Young Single Adults group at our church. I was asked to give them a 15 minute talk based on missionary work and how it’s impacted my life. I was also asked to provide them with advice that I would’ve liked for someone to give me when I was in college. Wow that was quite the undertaking. I wasn’t sure where to go with this assignment. Well l did my best to craft a talk that was roughly 15 minutes (by roughly I mean it was closer to 10 minutes) that explored the assigned topics.

In our church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), the typical format for talks is an opening speaker giving a 5-7 minute talk, followed by an intermediate speaker giving a 10-12 minute talk, concluding with a closing speaker giving a 15 minute talk. Much to my surprise, when I got to church I was informed there would only be two speakers and we were to fill the time allotted normally to three.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous. I was going up there with about 10 minutes worth of material to fill in a block of possibly 25-30 minutes of time. So I was going to have to do some major improvisation. It’s probably not a shock to anyone that knows me personally that this was actually not a problem. Keri will tell I can talk to anyone, anytime, about anything. They actually had to pass me a note to tell me to wrap up my talk because I was talking too long.

But one of the pieces of advice I was able to pass on to this group was the importance of good habits. This is something that I’ve really been intentional about this year. I try to make every day have the same sort of structure to help me train my subconscious. Regularly exercising, eating healthy, reading meaningful books and articles, et. al. are all new habits that I’ve found myself being more intentional about this year.

This brings me to my Monday morning. I wrote last week about my change in health and my new found passion for running. I’ve also found that running while listening to podcasts is a great way for me to train my mind while simultaneously training my body. Well I started out this Monday morning much like all the Monday mornings of 2019. I put my headphones in and set out to do a 4 mile run while listening to a podcast. This morning’s run was fueled by a particulary powerful episode of “Off The Cuff With Aubrey Huff.” Aubrey was speaking to former USC long snapper Jake Olson. Jake was diagnosed with retinoblastoma (a form of cancer that affects the eye) when he was a young boy. He lost his left eye when he was 10 months old and, despite numerous procedures on his other eye, he had his right eye removed when he was 12 in 2009.

“If you can’t see how God works things out, then your’e the blind one”-Jake Olson, blind former long snapper for the USC Trojans football team

There was great discussion among Aubrey, the Hammer (Aubrey’s co-host), and Jake speaking about overcoming adversity and the challenges that Jake has had to overcome. It was a great conversation and one that was quite inspiring. There was one particular quote that Jake shared about his faith and how important it has been to him on his journey. “If you can’t see how God works things out, then I think you’re the blind one.”

We live in a society where it is becoming increasingly more fashionable to be a victim. We hear stories all the time of victimization being glamorized in the media. Being a victim is becoming desirable. So to hear a story like Jake’s is incredibly powerful today. No one would’ve found any fault in Jake if he hadn’t pursued football. In fact, no one would’ve even thought it was possible. But Jake refused to be a victim. He played the cards that life had dealt him. I was particularly moved by his statement of faith and how God has helped him on his journey.

We met each other on the road this morning while on separate runs. We were able to run the last mile and a half together.

We all have problems. We all have shortcomings. But to use these flaws as excuses is an insult to our will and to the bodies that God gave us. We have to do all we can with the life we are given. Stories like Jake Olson, David Goggins, Fallon Taylor, and Bethany Hamilton show us that we can still do extraordinary things in our lives when our circumstances seem quite dire.

Hearing this story of Jake Olson really was a great way to start my week. There is a modern proverb that states “Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” We have to use every ounce of our potential and convert it into a meaningful life if we are to be satisfied at our death with the person we have become.

Thanks for reading my Monday morning blog. I love being able to find inspiration early in the week to set a tone. Please leave comments, a like on Facebook if you enjoyed today’s writing. If you are interested on hearing what I have to say going forward, please subscribe to my blog. If you know of anyone else who may enjoy what I have to say, please share this blog with them. Hope you all have a great Monday.

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