Say what you will about social media, but I’ve “met” some inspiring people on Twitter and Facebook. Granted, I’ve never shaken their hand, or stood next to them at a party, but I feel lucky to have them in my life on any level.
One such person is Michael Tittinger. I connected with Michael on Facebook through my cousin’s husband Jason. Got that? Convoluted I know, but that’s how social media connections happen. Jason “liked” Michael’s Facebook Fan Page called, “Mikey Walks” and I was intrigued (read: nosey). So I clicked the “Mikey Walks” link and am so glad I did.
“Mikey” (Michael Tittinger) is walking across the United States and posting to his Facebook Fan Page daily. Why? To raise money for the “Onny & Oboe Scholarship Fund” which helps families directly affected by a heart transplant pursue post-secondary education. Michael lost his first wife Deanna to heart disease. As Mikey’s website says, “A second chance to live is a second chance to dream.”
I’m not sure what impresses me more, the fact that he walks 25-30 miles per day, or that ten years after his first wife Deanna passed away he is walking in her honor.
Ten years. That’s persistence.
Kudos also go out to Mikey’s current wife Brooke – who is supporting his dream by walking portions of the trip with him and generally being a phenomenal cheerleader.
So every morning I see Mikey’s updates on Facebook when he starts his walk. “Started Hike with Walkmeter at 7:36 AM…” And every darn time I am inspired. Because, at some point during the day, I get lost in my life… my issues, my problem du jour. But when I read Mikey’s status I am once again reminded that somewhere there is a man pushing a jogging stroller (which holds his supplies), facing the elements, relying on the kindness of strangers - all to follow his dream.
And with this my faith in my ability to follow my dreams is renewed, along with my faith in the good hearted nature of people.
College students have given up dorm rooms, people have paid for hotels and a construction worker even shared his ham and butter sandwich. With each post on Mikey’s blog, my heart fills with the beauty of the people of this country.
Do yourself a favor – sign up for Mikey’s blog (www.MikeyWalks.com) for some great stories and to watch a man’s dream unfold, step by aching step. While you’re on Mikey’s site – find out why the Scholarship Fund is named after “Onny & Oboe.” Truly a precious story. (You might even feel compelled to donate – just saying.)
I leave you with words from a man who is indeed, Strong and Wise:
What have I learned along the way? To follow the muse and no one else. Hear your inner voice. Don’t allow it to drown. Our ideas are as individual as we are. We may only get so many big ones in a lifetime, those stomach-churning screamers that won’t go quietly into the night. Seize them or suppress them, but be assured they will go away. Follow that idea with enough focus, determination and resolve and the resistance will weaken. The naysayers, the doubters, the stone-throwers … they will lower their shields in time. They may even join the fight. If they don’t, you don’t need them. Their obstinance says more about them than it does you. Go forward, with blinders if you must. Don’t look back. The world is conditioned to have you conform (and let everyone else off the hook). Don’t. We weren’t meant to. ~ Michael Tittinger