Can’t Isn’t Even In Some People’s Dictionary
In Western Europe between Austria and Switzerland lies a sleepy little nation called Liechtenstein. The whole country is smaller than the city limits of Washington, DC, approx. 61 square miles. In 2020 the population was listed as 38,137.
Liechtenstein has been a peace loving country which doesn’t even have a standing army. They depend on Switzerland for their defense. (Switzerland itself has no regular armed forces, but depends on a citizens’ militia. The Swiss declared neutrality in both WWI and WWII.)
During WWII Hitler’s forces threatened the freedom enjoyed by Liechtenstein for the first time since gaining its independence in 1719. With no army and no help from Switzerland, Liechtenstein did what she could to withstand a well-armed German battalion.
A ten-man police force, nine Boy Scouts, and one priest stood ready to defend their tiny nation against the forces of Adolf Hitler. And according to my son’s 6th grade social studies book, either out of compassion or scorn, the German army turned away at the sight of the 20 brave men and boys without firing a shot.
Just goes to show you that where there’s a will there’s a way. I guess those 20 men and boys must have thought that they could do almost anything with almost nothing. At least they were willing to give it all they had.
It is amazing what can be accomplished when a person is not willing to take no for an answer. If anyone has not seen the movie, “Iron Will” it is a must see for the entire family. A young boy named Will goes on a rugged cross-Canada dogsled race against older and more experienced veterans of the race. Will goes from just plain old Will to “Iron Will” before the movie is over.
Any time a person takes on a big task there are always those who ridicule them and tell them that they are crazy and that it can’t be done. “Do-ers” drive “can’t-do-ers” crazy. It is an indictment against the “can’t-do-ers” that they “could” do it themselves if they just “would” do whatever “it” is. Thankfully there are a few folks left that have not included “can’t” in their personal dictionary.
Philip Sidney said, “Either I will find a way, or I will make one.” That’s the spirit. Thomas Carlyle said, “The block of granite which is an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.”
You may have heard about a guy named Guy Delage who set out to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. He made it! He swam from Camp Verde Islands to Barbados covering 2100 nautical miles in only 55 days.
It is a lot harder to convince yourself that you can do something than to actually do it. Guy Delage won the biggest battle before he ever got in the water. He thought he could do it. He believed that he could do it, so he made plans and jumped in the water and began to swim. Convincing that six inches of gray matter between one’s ears that it is possible to swim across the Atlantic ocean is much harder than actually swimming the ocean.
How many people do you suppose told Delage that he was crazy? How many would you reckon told him that it couldn’t be done? My bet would be quite a few. One such person, according to the Nov. 28, 1994 issue of “Sports Illustrated” was the secretary of the Channel Swimming Association, Mike Oram. He said, “I think his brain is waterlogged.” It didn’t stop Guy Delage or even slow him down. He didn’t do it because somebody told him it could be done, I’ll bet, but more because somebody told him it couldn’t.
My father in law, Glade Walters was a farmer. He was the kind of guy who could do anything. He could build, weld, do mechanic work & electrical work, plumbing, install heating/air conditioning, work with concrete, do roofing, sheetmetal, build beautiful woodworking projects and on and on. (If there was anything that he couldn’t do my mother in law could.)
Dad and Mom (in their 70s) took a house that they paid $3,000.00 for that was just a shack. They completely rebuilt it from the ground up. They did all the demolition and construction, roofing, wiring, hvac, plumbing, finishing, and laid all the carpet and linoleum etc. He and mom ended up having a beautiful retirement home. Most people probably thought he was crazy to take on a project like that at his age, but he didn’t care. He just did it.
Dad helped me tear a motorcycle engine apart and rebuild it one time without a book. He just looked at it and figured out how it worked and put it back together. I had never seen so many parts. It looked like an impossible task to me even if we would have had the manual, but Dad always figured if some man was smart enough to put something together the first time he was smart enough to put it back.
When he was still farming my father in law went to Macomb, IL, to Chenowith’s Farm Supply one time to get a part for his combine. They got it for him and told him how much it would cost. He said the part wasn’t worth that much and he wouldn’t pay it. They told him he would have to pay it because he couldn’t find one any cheaper anywhere else. He said, “I’ll go home and make my own.” They said, “Glade Walters, you can’t build that part yourself, it’s impossible.” Wrong. He did it.
If you don’t let people stop you by their negative thoughts, comments and advice almost anything is possible. If everybody was like those 20 men and boys who defended a whole country against Hitler’s army, the guy who swam the Atlantic, and my father in law, Glade Walters, there wouldn’t be as much need for welfare.
Anything is possible for those who believe. Once you convince yourself, nothing anybody says will be able to convince you otherwise. Truly, where there is a will there is a way.