Recently, I watched The Theory of Everything. It’s a movie that’s been on my list for a while and my viewing came at exactly the right time.
Professor Stephen Hawking. A man whose life epitomised making the impossible – possible. When diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) aged 21 he was given a couple of years to live and survived for another fifty-five.
And what a life he lived as a Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist and Author. Translating astronomical theory into an everyday conversation. I own a well-thumbed copy of A Brief History of Time and every time I pick it up it makes me feel smart and intellectually insecure at the same time. The whimsical first sentence enthrals me.
“We live in a strange and wonderful universe.”
What I love about Professor Stephen Hawking is his spirit. His undeniable passion for science and thirst for learning. As his diagnosis progressed, he communicated at the end of his life by using only his left cheek to type his words into a computer screen. Embracing life experientially with infectious self-deprecating humour with appearances on The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory. And who can forget the smile on his face as he experienced weightlessness at the age of 75.
What a life.
When he passed earlier this year the scientific community reacted with genuine grief at the loss of this inspiring soul and celebrated not only his unique contribution to their field but his humanity. Professor Stephen Hawking never gave up. No matter what the limitations he always persevered.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about perseverance. As a scholar of psychology and counselling, you naturally refer to your internal building blocks and last week I discovered the source. I listened to my Mum talking about determination, how once she starts something, she finishes it and I marvelled at her. My Mum describes herself an in introvert and she is, however, she is also my rock, my champion, my guiding light and my dose of common sense when I need it most. I’m so very lucky to be her daughter. And when I grit my teeth, dig deeper and work harder, I call upon the inheritance my Mum gave me to go the extra mile.
When you are doing what you love – what burns the fire of your passion, you feel so alive and inspired you exist within a world where the impossible is possible and nothing else exists.
Professor Stephen Hawking lived in that world and so do I. I may not get there today or tomorrow but I’ll get there. I always do. Because I’m my mother’s daughter and I will never ever give up.
The composition, The Arrival of the Birds, by Johann Johannson from The Theory of Everything soundtrack is magical and I would encourage a listen.