Why Stories Like Louie’s Matter

Louie is 16. His favorite exercise is pull ups and he just got a dead hang pull up!
Louie is 16. His favorite exercise is pull ups and he just got a dead hang pull up!

Did you watch it?

If you didn’t see Louie’s story, take a moment (3:10 to be exact) and do so now. Here’s the link. Then come right back and let’s talk. Promise me you won’t get lost!

Okay, are you here again? Did you manage not to get lured away by gorillas or politics or videos of goats running around in pajamas? (Those goats are really cute, I know! How can you not watch?) Our internet of everything is so distracting. It’s like a closet door you open so you can find one coat, but 40 items come tumbling out and then you’re lost in hats and scarves and old boots and a couple of high school yearbooks, forgetting why you opened that door in the first place.

But I’d like you remember Louie, and here’s one of the reasons why: Louie is just like you and me.

What? He’s a kid in Camden. How is he like you and me?

  • Because Louie is not a CrossFit Games athlete. (We aren’t, either. Shocking, I know.)
  • He’s not some superhuman specimen of physical perfection existing at the top of the functional fitness food chain. Like us, Louie’s not hitting everything in first place all the time, but he is hitting everything as hard as he can. Louie’s got strengths, weaknesses, up times, down times, and one awesome spirit of resilience that gets him through when he might doubt there is a way to get through.
  • Louie, in his own way, is a badass.

Simply put, stories like Louie’s matter.

Because we don’t hear these stories enough. Because they are true and right and uplifting and encouraging in a world that all too often gives us its heel and its backside. Our media is full of stories of fear and doom and destruction. Fear sells, and maybe we need to stop buying.

But we got Louie, and we have his story. He reminds us of who we could be with a little work. Of who we might be if we tried harder. Because maybe when we hear that Louie is not giving up, that helps to keep us from giving up.

You + Louie + me = Community. And community keeps us going.

It’s that simple.

We think to be inspired we need stories of huge successes embodied in Everest climbs and national championships and televised sports victories by millionaires and sponsored athletes.

But that’s not true. We’ve been lured by the money and the lights and the screens and the colors to believe it’s true. That’s understandable. Big stories are great too … but we really need to remember these little stories.

Because on the days when nothing is going right (and we have far more of them than we care to admit), stories like Louie’s are exactly what we need to brighten our day, spur our hearts, and heal our battered souls. In stories like his, we cry and smile and live more fully, settling deeply into our own remembered and shared humanity. We more fully experience life when we envelope ourselves in reality and emotion. And Louie is honest, touchable reality and emotion.

As Shane Claiborne said in “Becoming Wise” by Krista Tippett: “Revolution is not a big thing. It’s a very small thing. We’ve got to live it in small ways out of little communities.”

These little revolutions and these little communities: they’re everywhere. Your local gym is one of them. Your school is probably another, and your workplace, and your place of worship. (Maybe even your local bar! I’m not here to judge!)

So, this is what I want to know: Do you have a Louie in your life? Someone who inspires you away from the hubbub and the hullabaloo? Someone whose quiet light seems to shine more brightly than most scoreboards on Earth? Someone whom you watch and think, “Wow. If only I could be a little bit more like him. He’s really something.”

If you do, tell us. Tell me. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors. Share their stories. Like Louie’s story, we need to hear them, even though we often don’t know our need until we find ourselves wiping away salty tears. (And if you want to go even further, buy something from Steve’s PaleoGoods, because 15% of your purchase is going to help kids like Louie through the Steve’s Club National Program.)

But, most importantly, tell the Louies of your life how important they are. I guarantee you that no one tells them enough. The quiet lights need energy too. Feed them. Thank you.

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