So Brian Boyle continued on with his recovery. His perspective had changed. He talked about the battles within, “ …the challenge remains an internal battle, conducted entirely within our own private hell. Victory is measured in the smallest achievable increments. Like tying a shoelace.”
On the mend he found inspiration in different places. The nurses and doctors that cared for him gave him strength. He laughed heartily at the Ellen DeGeneres show. He found strength from this Dickens quote, “Ride on! Rough shod if need be. Smooth shod if that will do, but ride on! Ride on over all obstacles and win the race!” That quote came to him in an email and he received a plethora of encouraging emails.
Eventually, Brian recovered to the point where he completed the Ironman in Kona, HI. People doubted why he needed to do something so intense when he was still very much in recovery, “Why do the Ironman after going through all that pain and suffering in the recent past. There’s an old saying that goes something like this: ‘A person hasn’t lived until he has almost died, and for those who have fought for life, the world has a flavor the protected will never know.’ Life is all about taking risks and accepting challenges when faced with adversity. This sentiment might seem like a cliché’, but to the survivors like myself, it means never giving up.”
And so I hope you take those words for your marriage. The pain and suffering can be transforming and redemptive. You wouldn’t ever choose it again, but I hope you are beginning to see the growth and positive changes it is nourishing in your life. Ride on and finish the race. There you will know that you know that you know that your marriage is on solid footing and joy will well up at having gone through all the suffering to get where you are.
Brian had this to say after finishing at Kona, “ The mood is beyond emotional. Tears. Hugs. Smiles. I feel completely reborn, as if I have been given the gift of a normal life and all the limitations I once had have vanished. Just over three years ago, doctors didn’t think I would ever walk again. I had been the boy in the car crash, the dying boy, the boy whose heart stopped numerous times, the coma boy, the boy who couldn’t speak or move, the skeleton boy in the wheelchair. But all that is now part of the past on this triumphant night in Kona. The announcer shouts to the crowd of thousands, “Brian Boyle, at twenty-one years old, is an Ironman!” Yes I am.
So ride on! Rough shod if need be. Smooth shod if that will do, but ride on!