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Still Living STRONG October 23, 2012

Posted by Barbara in LiveSTRONG.
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Once in a while I have to go ahead and take a stand.

I try to stay pretty apolitical.  I prefer to talk values rather than party line, to find common ground and shared humanity.  I make an effort to live to reflect my moral / religious / political beliefs instead of preaching my doctrine on the street corner or standing as judge and jury over others.

Which brings me to the controversy over one of my favorite people:  Lance Armstrong.

I don’t know him personally.  I’ve never been involved in the racing sport – although I cheered for several of his Tour victories as I watched on TV.   I’ve never met the man; but I’d like to –  regardless of the truth behind the drug use allegations.

The fact is – I don’t know the facts.   Neither do the many people who seem so willing to be judge and jury.   The proceedings thus far have not even offered Mr. Armstrong the forum, the protection of rights or the due process we hold so dear to our system of justice.  He’s been tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion by the jurisprudence of the media.

I pretty much believe that ‘all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’.  Lance’s sins surely exist – whether those of the debate or others seen only by himself and God – but they are no more, or less, damning than my own.  Or yours.

On the other hand, Lance faced an extraordinary challenge that had nothing to do with cycling.  And he found the courage and strength to overcome it.  Many others have done the same – if not with cancer, then with other challenges.  Most likely you’ve faced a few of your own.

What sets Lance Armstrong apart – and the reason I’d be honored to meet him – is that he not only overcame his own challenges; but in the process he turned that same fierce determination and commitment that drove him to win races, into serving others who are also in pain.  And not just others who fight cancer, but the thousands fighting other battles who have found inspiration and strength in his story and that of many, many other survivors.

LiveSTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s flagship institution, serves an area of health care that is almost completely overlooked by the ‘system’ – using the process of guiding people through the fearful processes of their illness to build in each of them a share of the fighting spirit Lance so well exhibits.  Lance’s commitment to serve has not wavered through his very public flogging – whether deserved or not.

If we all managed to do as well with our suffering, imagine what a place the world would be.

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“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
 Mahatma Gandhi
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