"We're all in this life together and we are one. Without the light, I cannot see. Without the bad, I cannot taste the good. Only one color, nothing would be understood. The whole spectrum is what makes up life. The only way to make it right is to be yourself and love everybody else." --Matthew Farnworth
I first heard about Matthew Farnworth a few weeks ago. The 24-year-old Utah man suffers from a rare skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa. The effects of EB are enough to cause a good deal of concern: skin blisters and peels away from his body with even minor contact. What to everyone else might be an insignificant injury can, for Matt, be potentially life threatening. Even scratching an itch—something the rest of us take for granted—can have serious implications.
But Matt doesn’t let his condition slow him down.
He’s a professional inline skater, and he loves to rollerblade. In a recent news report he was quoted as saying “I don’t think anything should hold you back.”
Instead of focusing on what can go wrong—injuries that will cause him pain and even serious infection—he focuses on his dreams. He wants to build a skate park and a center for boarding, blading, and BMX that he hopes will attract national and international competition.
When I considered what Matt was up against, and what he did in spite of it, I realized I could learn a great lesson from him. Many times in life I’ve had a dream, but I have failed to see it through to fruition because of fear.
Fear I would fail.
Fear others would judge me.
Fear I would somehow get hurt.
And so I chose not to take any action. Or I settled for lesser dreams, like painting the bathroom a new color instead of doing something really big—life changing—like working on my nonprofit foundation or building the yoga studio I dream of.
The bigger the dream the bigger the disappointment, the pain, if I fail—right?
But as I’ve moved through my life I’ve come to know on a very personal basis that only by dreaming big can I honor my Maker, those who have gone before me, and those who are yet to come.
And myself and the gift of life I’ve been given.
If I cower in fear of what might happen to hurt me, if I never attempt anything of significance, only then, at the end of my existence, will I have failed.
Matt's story reminded me of that and strengthened my resolve to live more fully.
Thank you, Matt. You’ve touched my heart.
And remember the contest? A winner--finally--here.