Just Past The Impossible

Just Past The Impossible

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible
— Arthur C. Clarke

I talk a lot about testing your limits. Sometimes that means just going a few steps further than you planned and sometimes it means trying new things even when you don’t think it’s possible. When I test my limits, it makes me feel alive and proud of myself. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but I’m always a better and stronger person when I test my limits. I’m not talking about doing crazy things that aren’t safe, I’m talking about doing things out of your comfort zone and ignoring that little voice inside your head that keeps you there.

Two years ago I drove to Maryland by myself to complete the Kennedy 50 Walk. I arrived to meet a bunch of strangers and walk fifty miles in one day. We began at 4:30 in the morning with temperatures in the teens. I was so cold that I was numb and my water bottle was frozen, but I kept walking ignoring that inner voice saying “why are you doing this?”. When the sun began to rise, I stopped to enjoy the beginning of a new day and I dug deep to find the strength to just keep walking.

As the sun warmed the day a little, I began to be able to feel my feet and that wasn’t a good thing. They hurt bad but I knew I was past the hot spot stage and well into the blister stage, so I just kept walking. With every step the pain became worse but I made a deal with myself. If I could make it just over halfway, I would be happy. I’m a hiker so I thought, I can do this. I learned that a continuous flat trail is far different than the trails I was use to hiking. My frozen feet hit the trail the same spot over and over again. I had made it to twenty miles and was determined to make it at least six more. I learned something about myself that day, I learned just how much pain I could take and how determined I could be.

I walked the last two miles alone telling myself to just take another step. I did it, I made it to the twenty-six mile mark. I grabbed a sandwich they provided us, found a spot to sit down, and took my shoes off. After I ate, I took my socks off to inspect my feet. I had the biggest blister I had ever seen. The blister covered the entire ball of my foot and went up in between my big toe. I also had two toenails that were already turning black. For a moment I thought, I can do this. I popped the blister, put my socks and shoes back on, and stood up ready to go. Well, I went straight to the van to shuttle me back to my vehicle. I then hopped in my vehicle after walking twenty-six miles and drove twelve hours straight back home. I remember the first time I stopped for gas I went to get out of my car and could barely walk. My feet were so swollen that my shoes didn’t fit. I hobbled into that gas station in my socks, got a fountain coke, and got back on the road.

It doesn’t sound like much fun does it? Why did I do that? I stepped out of my comfort zone and tested my limits. Although I didn’t complete the fifty miles, it was still a win for me. I learned a lot about myself that day and I had twenty-six miles worth of conversations with myself and my Daddy in Heaven. I call that a win!

So step out of your comfort zone just past possible into the impossible. It is there that you will learn things about yourself.