Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A cowboy's spirit

People ask me all the time, 

"How do you do it? How do you stay so positive and upbeat?"

The first and foremost reason is God has protected me, and provided the grace for whatever I am facing. That's the biggest reason I am where I am. I've written about that here.

I don't want to diminish that, but there is another much smaller element that I think helps me keep moving forward and stay positive.

Cowboy Spirit

I wear a bracelet every day that was given to me at the benefit a bunch of my friends and family put on for us. It was called Rodeo for Ryan and it was an extraordinary day with over 1000 people showing up to support us. I get goosebumps when I think about it still. 

The bracelet only has two word on it. 

Cowboy Up!

There's a song called Cowboy Logic by Micheal Martin Murphy (that Kendra hates), it starts out with these words;

There's a great American hero, we all look up to
When the times are hard and the chips are down,he knows just what to do

I have a John Wayne coffee mug in my office that has a quote from the Duke on it;

Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway

What do all these things have in common?


Stubborn, unrelenting, will.

I think I get the ability to look any situation in the face and say, "It'll be okay, we'll find a way through this some how". Where does this come from? Lots of places. 

My great grandparents who were coal miners, my grand parents who spent their lives building an incredible ministry for juvenile delinquents through blood sweat and tears. Through season after season of losing sports games growing up and having to come to practice or the next game and choose against all odds that I truly believed we could win. It comes from an attitude that there aren't problems only opportunities. 

God has prepared me for this journey with cancer and one way He did that was help build in me the will power to always choose to keep going. 

When I'm puking, when I'm hurting, when I'm foggy, when I'm tired, when I'm discouraged, when the future is bleak, when the cancer is growing, when Kendra is scared, when I worry about Colton, when I'm terrified.

I'm going to Cowboy Up! 

I'm going to do what I have to do. If that means year after year of chemo, I'll do it. If that means hanging on as long as I can through the pain to be here, I'll do it. If that means working as hard as I can when I feel well enough to make up for when I don't, I'll do it. 

The unrelenting decision to stay positive and choose hope has gotten me out of more jams than I can count. Did I win every game? Nope, but you know what? I fought like hell while I played. I'm proud of how hard I played, and that's all I can control. How hard am I going to play the game. 

Sometimes when life doesn't make sense in our mind, and our heart is afraid or doubtful we need a little stubborn willpower to get us through the obstacles in our way. 

This is the cowboy spirit. It's a never give up, never say never attitude that won't let you quit. There's always a way and you can always do the right thing. When your horse bucks you off, get back on. When the fence breaks, fix it. When the job is hard, do it!

So let's quit our whining and complaining about life, and get back to work. Let's do something with ourselves  regardless of our circumstances. Lets stop using life as an excuse not to be obedient to God and do great things for Him. 

I can't use cancer as an excuse, I have to use it as motivation!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God Bless You Ryan ! And God Bless your parents - they have to be at least partially responsible for the terrific outlook on life that you display here !
I have worn my Cowboy Up blue bracelet since last August....however, not being much of a Cowgirl myself, I really wondered what it meant. Now I understand so much better what it stands for-- from here on out, "Cowboy Up" will mean for me to try and be as brave and positive and trusting as the wonderful young man named Ryan who has taught my grandchildren [and me !] so much about His God over the years at Grace Adventures !