I think it started the day the first two boys from Thailand were rescued from the cave. My kids watched me watch the news that morning and watched me cry big fat tears of relief that those little soccer players would return to their families. It was all too much for me– the poor coach who had already taught them to meditate which helped them to conserve energy and pass all those hours waiting to be rescued; those parents waiting beyond the cave limits for word that their children would be traveling those two miles underground next, under water, and under the care of a trained professional. I cried every time I turned on the news until the last boy and his coach came out alive; prayers for the Thai SEAL who lost his life in the process.
Normally, I can feel a big cry coming on. Like I knew I would probably fall apart during the Thai soccer team rescue, but I was unprepared for the cry that assaulted me as I drove to a speaking gig at the St. Johnsbury School this past Wednesday. Completely unprepared. There had been a driving rainstorm the day before, yet on this morning the humidity did not exist; the sun shone on the Moore Reservoir, and I was alone in my car listening to country music. I was so happy for a minute driving to do what I love best professionally which is to talk about books, read aloud from True North, and use poems to help students enter into their own writing. Not only that, but a former student teacher had invited me into her space, willing to share her students and their histories with me– and mine with them. So there I was driving alone in my car witness to the clear mountains and the pristine lake, when “The Dance” (written by Tony Arata and performed by Garth Brooks) came over the radio, and I fell apart. Literally the kind of the cry where you wonder if you should pull over driving or just power through.
My friend had received news from her doctor that her current treatment plan wasn’t working as well as we had all hoped. But this friend– she is a problem solver. She may allow herself a good power cry, and then she gets back to it. That’s the power of the power cry. Just yesterday, Geoff spoke with an old friend, one of his heroes in ski education and an incredible athlete, who shared awful news about his prognosis. Yet, he is maintaining his usual high energy, optimism and strength for the possibility of a new trial that will give him more time.
And then I tried to watch the ESPY AWARDS which was a terrible and beautiful idea. The ESPY for Best Coach went to a trio of coaches from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL who lost their lives in the shooting this spring trying to protect their students. Their athletes wrote them letters about how they changed their lives and my power cry returned tenfold. The life time achievement award went to Jim Kelly, longtime coach now battling oral cancer Jim Kelly’s ESPY speech for the Jimmy Valvano Award for Perseverance. This made me then Google the clip of the recipient whom the award was named back in 1993. Jim Kelly quoted Jimmy Valvano and told me we should “laugh, think and cry each day of our lives”, and lately I’ve clearly been following this advice closely. Jimmy Valvano Speech 1993.
Both their speeches, 25 years apart, filled me with hope and anger and love and frustration. Fortunately, The Karate Kid was being viewed on American Movie Classics. You forget how good that movie is. So much goodness. So much hope. So much healing. I needed a Mr. Miyagi moment more now than I did in 1984. That flying crane at the end is what I needed to see, feel, and hear on Thursday night after a week of crying about Thai boys stuck in caves, police officers shot down in the line of duty, coaches killed protecting students, and life time achievement award speeches.
Feeling powerless, I make a list of positive people in my community I want to blog about, AND then I kill hundreds of fruit flies with apple cider vinegar. Mr. Miyagi and the power cry are essential in practicing the flying cranes needed to kick ass in all the moments that matter whether we are laughing, thinking, crying, or killing flies.