Knowing time was of the utmost importance, the team had to get creative. Someone had the brilliant idea to involve the RCMP, and as luck would have it, one of Canada’s finest, Constable Tyler Jensen, happened to answer the call and made it his mission to track down Ray Bruce with the news of the available heart and the quickly approaching deadline. The sensitive timeline was made, and today Ray Bruce is enjoying a full life with his new heart.
Because of Jim’s heart issues, I found the entire story to be intriguing, and I was particularly struck by the comments made by Dr. Bashir. When pressed as to why they worked so hard to track down Ray Bruce, Dr. Bashir said, ‘We had in our possession, a gift. This is the kind of gift that just has to be delivered.’
No question, it was the link to Jim and his heart, along with my complete understanding that ‘There but for the grace of God go we’, that caused me to continue thinking about this comment long after the news was over.
I was still thinking about it as I hiked on Tuesday. Actually, I wasn’t thinking so much about hearts, although mine certainly was beating as we climbed high in the foothills in deep snow, as I was thinking about gifts. I’ve heard it said over and over, and I’ve coached this idea using slightly different wording, that the best gift we can ever give is the gift of being completely ourselves. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with this.
I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who might have doubts that being myself may not win first prize in the ‘Best Gift I Could Give the World’ category. I think there are a lot of people who could join this club with me. Many people who know me would likely say I am true to myself; that I do bring my true self to the table. The fact is, for the longest time, I couldn’t even figure out what it might look like for me to be completely myself. I would often observe what worked for others and try to incorporate bits of it into my being. Over time, some of this stuck, and some parts were let go. Other times, I would minimize certain of my traits, having self-judged myself and found these traits to not be quite up to snuff.
As Brenda and I climbed, we were following some footsteps in the snow. About two-thirds to the top of the mountain, the footprints stopped. Upon close examination, we figured out the person actually turned around and returned the way they had come. From that point on, we were making a new trail. I was in the lead to start, so it was my foot strikes that left the marks in the deep snow. Some time later as we trundled along, looking for the side trail that would take us to our breathtaking ‘lunch room’, we checked our handy phone app and realized we had overshot our mark. We needed to turn around and head back down the way we came, this time with a sharper eye out for the illusive trail.
Turning down, I was again in the lead and following my own footprints. But no matter that these exact prints had been made by me only minutes earlier, I found my steps no longer fit comfortably in either the prints I had made, or in the prints Brenda left. I was flummoxed. How could it be that I could not fit right into the very prints I myself had made?
As I walked along, more downhill now that we had turned, I thought about trying to walk in these footprints. I could certainly do it. But it wasn’t a perfectly comfortable fit. If I wanted to use the ready-made prints, I had to adjust my step. In other words, I had to become, ever so slightly, someone who wasn’t quite the new me; the walking downhill me.
This very small moment in time has had quite an impact on me. I’ve been wondering how often in life we are unable to give the world the gift of being ourselves because we are caught up in either being the person we think others expect us to be, or being someone we used to be and still think we should or can be. We are trying to fit into footsteps that are not ours to fit. In the case of hiking, I had already changed in only a few minutes. So, the best version of myself was no longer the girl who had marched up the hill, it had to be the girl who was navigating the downhill.
Most of us will never donate our heart to someone else. Most of us will never be called to donate a kidney or bone marrow, or part of a liver. Many will never even donate the gift of blood. Yet every single day we have the chance to simply show up in the world, to donate to the world, the gift our ourselves. Even typing this I hesitate, trying to override old teachings about not becoming too full of myself. I remind myself that being fully myself does not mean I need to be better than I was yesterday, or better than anyone else. It is simply an acknowledgment on my part that by showing up as myself, I am showing up as who I was put on this earth to be.
Last week we welcomed little Baby Andy to our family. He is simply beautiful. Several people have wondered if he is like Ben. If you’ve read even one little blog of mine about Ben, you will know I think Ben is absolutely perfect. But I hope Andy is not ‘just like Ben’. I have no doubt Andy has his own trademarks of absolute perfection. I will champion them both to live into their full selves. No one else in this world can be better at being them than they can.
The same goes for the rest of us. Paraphrasing the wise words of Dr. Bashir, ‘We have in our hands a gift. This is the kind of gift that just has to be delivered.’
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What gift am I delivering?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to deliver your gifts.