I once made a basket from mid-court during a basketball game.Someone made me smile today.Every year children enter my classroom as timid pre-schoolers and nine months later leave as confident, independent, joyful first graders.A friend’s heart stopped beating for 52 minutes. At 5 minutes you get irreversible damage to your brain; at 30 minutes you should be dead. He is alive now and lives a normal life.At the age of 14, I was told I would be bedridden for life. Last year, I climbed the Swiss Alps.I was attacked by a shark while swimming in the ocean. Another swimmer jabbed the shark in the eye and it swam away. All I needed was some stitches.I volunteered to do Sub for Santa two years ago. After meeting the mother of the family I was randomly assigned to, we realized she was my daughter that I placed for adoption 28 years earlier.I had an extremely severe allergic reaction to some medicine, and my heart stopped for more than ten minutes. I woke up three weeks later paralyzed with weeks to live. Today happens to be the thirteen year anniversary of the day I woke up.My brother got his arm cut clean off in a farming accident. The doctors were able to sew it back on and it works perfectly fine with the exception of his pinky.My brother hung himself and is alive and well today because his step-father needed him to sign a card.My brothers enlisted. They went to war. They fought. They came back in one piece.My premature, drug-addicted, little brother who “wouldn’t survive his first week” is turning 13 this year.A friend riding a motorcycle was rear-ended, pinned under his bike, dragged 20 ft into oncoming traffic, and walked away.The Christmas Eve my family couldn’t afford food, anonymous “elves” called and gave my dad food, clothes, and presents for us.I was told I had a 3% chance of getting pregnant. Turns out I already was!My mom almost died many times. She now lives healthy without a stomach and many of her other organs.I was hit by a water-skiing boat when I was nineteen and pronounced dead. Long story short, I’m still here.A wall collapsed onto my 91 year old grandfather. He pushed it off of himself and had no injuries.While in Afghanistan, my husband got shot in the side of his head. Somehow it missed anything vital and he was able to come home to our two daughters a month later.I was driving in the snow and lost control. My car rolled four times down a large embankment, crushing me inside. Nobody found me for more than two hours, and when they did I didn’t have a pulse. It took emergency crews another 30 minutes to get there, and somehow they revived me.My son won the election in his school for student body president. He found out later that the votes were never counted and that the teachers had simply chosen him. He handed them his jacket and walked away from it.My sister was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She refused treatment and three months later was given a clean bill of health.One Sunday I skipped church for no good reason. That morning a salesman knocked on my door. It was my brother who ran away eleven years before that, on the other side of the country.My daughter got the lead role in a community play even though she’d never acted. She also has never walked.I was born deaf and was told I’d never hear. I’m now 29 and guess what… I hear perfectly.
Perhaps as you read many of these you thought to yourself, these are not impossible, they’re just highly unlikely. You are right. But that doesn’t mean the person facing them or witnessing saw them as impossible, because they very much did.
Which brings us to the most powerful exercise in impossibility that we could ever do for ourselves. Any time we truly feel something is impossible, we must take ourselves out of the equation completely. We must put somebody else in our shoes, and we must imagine ourselves telling that person how to achieve what just moments before we thought was impossible.
You see, there is no “you” in impossible. Only an “I”. Almost all of us believe in the power of anyone else. She could get out of poverty if she really wanted to. He could overcome his sickness if he really wanted to. You could lose 200 lbs. if you were really dedicated enough. But when talking about ourselves, that 200 lbs. is impossible. Rising out of our financial crises is impossible, and so is everything else that we know very well others have the ability to do, even when the chances are slim.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What impossible thing have you seen happen? What do you think when you read this list of “impossible things”? And, who is your greatest hero when it comes to achieving the impossible? One of my biggest is Henry Ford. Here are some quotes from several who understood the power of the word impossible and are so much more eloquent than I am.