The Journey by Mary Oliver

katherine mansfield risk anything. care no more for the opinion of others ... do the hardest thing on earth for you

Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others … Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” – Katherine Mansfield

No one might have known it better than Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger about acting for oneself and facing the truth. Rudy harboured a dream to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, despite being merely 5’6″ and 165 pounds – an undersized player, and lacking the grades – because he was dyslexic – and also lacking the money necessary to attend Notre Dame. He prepared to settle down with a job at a local steel mill like his father, but when his best friend Pete was killed in an explosion at the mill, Rudy decided to follow his dream of attending Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish.

He went on to fulfill his dream to attend Notre Dame and to play for the Fighting Irish at home as defensive end against Georgia Tech on November 8, 1975, in his final senior season; achieving all these despite being constantly mocked at, disbelief from even people who are closest to him – his family, and numerous rejection from Notre Dame. Not only had Rudy achieved his dreams, he had also gone on to achieve the dreams of his father and to inspire the people around him.

Haven’t we received countless advises from family and friends when we voiced out what we want to do? That we cannot do this or do that. No doubt they are concerned about our well-being and yet these well-meaning advises can kill our dreams even before we start. After all the wet blankets that were thrown to us, we were somehow convinced, “Yes, they are right, we could’t do it. It wouldn’t work.” As much as we must not become overly stubborn and persistent towards the pursue of our dreams, we must be prepared to stand up and believe in our dreams.

However, in the pursue of our dreams, we must be mentally prepared to go on the journey alone at times and it will be a bonus if we happen to have anyone walking with us. We must be determined to do the only thing we could do – determined to save the only life we could save.

Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Photo Credit: Andrew S. Gray Photography
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