Begin here. Weak. Fumbling. Grasping. You protest. Indignant, you whimper, and your cobalt eyes cry out, “Why this? I want to move, to walk, to run.” But running, jumping, climbing, skipping, dancing–all movement–begins here. Weak. Fumbling. Grasping. Awkward. To run, to be strong, Viv, you must first understand and experience your weakness.
It is not easy to watch you flounder. I want to press fast-forward, and spare you the frustration. I see how much you love to move your legs so fast in your chair, delighting in the speed you can move them. You are not content to lay down, and you constantly bend yourself to sit, and then sitting, are not content to sit. You grab my fingers and pull yourself up to stand. Your legs certainly seem strong and sure. You grin, and look around. The world looks different when you are standing.
No, it is not easy to watch. But Viv, this is the humble way we all begin. Weak and awkward, grasping towards an ever-distant goal. You know they say that to begin is the most difficult thing of all, but I am not sure this is true. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The act of putting on your running shoes and greeting a cold, frosty morning. To decide and then to act. The beginning is hard, it is true, but I believe the greater challenge is summoning the courage to accept press on through our weakness. To finish the the long journey when our energy flags, to keep running when the tips of toes and fingers grow icy from the chill, to follow through and finish well when our decisions lead us to unpleasant places we had not expected.
And this beginning is not the end. A thousand more beginnings, just like this, will greet you in years to come, Viv. I pray for grace to meet you in those beginnings, there in your weakness. I pray that the twin virtues, courage and humility, will propel you forward, smiling, through the tough and sticky spaces. I love you, little girl. Happy Birthday.