Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I know I posted it before but I just can't stop thinking about it:

The year after Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, TWELVE people did the same thing. TWELVE.

A feat that scientists had thought beyond the realm of human achievement, a feat whose attempt jeopardizes human life. The heart, these experts thought, would explode if anyone tried to break that record.

TWELVE people, the next year.

To date, the record has been lowered by 17 seconds, an enormous gulf in the world of professional athletes. That mark, once revered as the pinnacle of human achievement is now the standard for any Tom, Dick and Mikey who wants to run middle-distance. To go on further, that mark has been bested by a man in his 40's. It's been doubled-up by Daniel Komen of Kenya who ran 2 miles in under 8 minutes. No woman has done it yet. Someone will. And I'd like to buy her a drink in gratitude.


Bonhoeffer wrote about the hypocrisy that's possible with Catholic Sainthood in "The Cost of Discipleship." Sainthood, you see, allows rank and file Christians to believe that these people were a special breed; it creates a double-standard.

"Oh, I couldn't be like THAT."
"God just chooses SOME people to do great things."
"That's for a saint to do. I'm just a normal human being."

Screw. That.

I choose not to see the Augustines, Calvins, Luthers, Theresa's and who-have-you's as anything special. Roger Bannister was a man. Usain Bolt is a man. Michael Phelps is a man. Lance Armstrong, Neil Armstrong, Louie Armstrong, all just men. Stanley Lee is a man.

This is not to bring them down. By stating the facts of reality, I find that I've elevated myself up. I too, am a man. I breathe. I live. I can destroy my muscles like they did, and they will rebuild themselves just as theirs did. I can destroy my limiting beliefs like they did. And I will live within the framework of possibility, conquest and joy. Will I ever accomplish anything remotely comparable? Who knows? I don't even have a goal on that level yet. But that doesn't matter. I'll never stop pushing the envelope of my capacity. And I'll never stop being surprised at how much further this envelope goes.

To some, there may be such a heinous stench when a person raises himself up. I believe that we should never have considered ourselves so low. I hope that as I climb up, others might have a small spark of sentiment, a warming or thawing of spirit and realize that no... it's not impossible.

Impossible is nothing.

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