Yesterday, Diana Nyad completed her 103-mile swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida, a feat that leaves me in awe. She did this without a shark cage, swimming for nearly 53 hours, her lips and tongue becoming swollen from all the salt water. But the most inspiring part of Diana’s story for me is that this was her fifth attempt. She made her first attempt when she was 29. Yesterday, she saw her dream come to fruition 35 years later at the age of 64.
As Diana put her feet on shore, feeling the ground beneath her for the first time in more than two days, she said, “I got three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team.”
Never, ever give up. How many times did Diana want to give up? How hard was it to make a fifth attempt? Perseverance is never easy. What dream have you cast aside because it seems impossible? I remember reading that JK Rowling’s manuscript for Harry Potter was rejected by 12 different publishers before she found one who said yes. Twelve times she heard, “No.” but she persevered.
You are never too old to chase your dreams. Children believe anything is possible. Sunday, I asked some of my first-grade boys at church what they wanted to be when they grew up. An astronaut, an engineer and a superhero. Somewhere along the way, we let things like mortgages, bills and the 10 o’clock news shrink our dreams. If we aren’t careful, we choose comfort over adventure and safety over risk. Jesus told us to have faith like a child. When He said that, maybe He wanted us to remember that with Him anything is possible.
It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team. Dreamers are contagious. Hang around one long enough and you’ll find yourself dreaming again too. Last Friday, I got to have lunch with two amazing friends, two women God has blessed with incredible gifts of communication. For two hours, we dreamed together, encouraging one another, spurring each other on. Speak life into the dreams of those around you. You never know when your words might be the very wind beneath their wings, the gentle push that nudges them to take flight.
That picture above, that’s me eating the eponymous key lime pie when Matt and I went spent the day in Key West for our sixth anniversary cruise a couple years ago. Diana Nyad, congrats on making it the 103 miles from Havana to Key West in 53 hours. Congrats on trying five times and doing the impossible. You’ve inspired me. I hope someone gets you a really big piece of key lime pie. And to all of us daring to dream, in the words of a famous blue fish, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”