He walked to the podium with two prosthetic legs.
He shared his story of how he was the first double amputee to complete the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. He swam 2.4 miles, did a 112-mile bike ride and finished with a 26.2 mile run. It made me shrink in my seat while I thought of my 30 minute walks I call exercise. After a decade of surgeries, Rigsby recalled having little to live for. He desperately wanted to do something big. God had given him a dream, a dream to do what had never been done before. As he shared his testimony, he recounted the obstacles he faced day after day while training for the triathlon.
And I was reminded that God can give us a burning desire to do the unthinkable, but He doesn’t promise the road will be a smooth one.
In 2007 I wrote a nonfiction book proposal. I spent hours and hours tucked away in a tiny little office, which was nothing more than a glorified closet. I typed and deleted and typed some more. With each word my excitement grew. And then I hit the send button to the only literary agent I had ever heard of.
The next morning with coffee in hand, I opened my laptop to find out that she requested to see the manuscript. A few days later, she sent me an encouraging email saying she liked what she was reading. I dashed to the phone each time it rang, trying not to sound out of breath when I said hello.
But soon after, I received the thin envelope no aspiring writer wants to hold, the dreaded rejection letter. And her kind hand written note on embossed stationary didn’t take the sting out of her words.
Hot tears trickled that day. And failure followed me down aisles of the grocery store. Failure sat beside me during gymnastics practice. Failure loomed overhead with each book I read by a published author.
As I cleared my desk of all traces of the proposal, I told God I was done writing. I had wasted enough time. It was a silly endeavor anyway. Who was I to think I could write a book? As I shuffled through my notes, the phone rang. For the first time in weeks, I didn’t dash to get it. It went straight to the answering machine.
And the words echoed through my kitchen and up our tall ceilings, “I love the story, we want to publish it,” she said. It was an essay I had written the year before. I had assumed it had landed in a slush pile. And in those thirty seconds, the words from a complete stranger, were what I needed to keep writing.
I’m thankful God doesn’t promise success and wealth and that every day makes perfect sense. Instead He offers to walk alongside us in the victories and in the grief and He allows us on occasion to do the unthinkable.
For more information about Scott Rigsby go to http://www.scottrigsby.com/.