|Lance Armstrong in 2010 (by Haggisni)|
Born Lance Edward Gundersen, his biological father left him when he was only two. According to a February 2004 article in the UK Times Online, Lance never afterwards cared to know his "so- called father" either directly or indirectly. Lance's surname was changed to Armstrong after his mother remarried. His step-father, Terry Armstrong, "talked religion but used to beat Lance with a paddle…" Lance was relieved when he too "walked out."
At age 25 - when most people's lives are blossoming - Armstrong "was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer" that had already "spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain." He was told that "he had less than a 40% survival chance." He not only underwent testicular
surgery (an orchiectomy), but also brain surgery. In his book It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, Armstrong reveals that he thought deeply about death before his brain surgery. Part of this entailed a self-inquiry into his spiritual beliefs.
Because he had "developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up," Armstrong's inquiry focused more upon ethics than religious doctrines. He asked himself questions like these: …if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far?
Armstrong concluded that he "had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable." He decided that he was "essentially a good person" - although he [like all humans] "could have been better." He also stressed the importance of belief – not necessarily "in a certain book" – but in belief "for its own shining sake." Cancer taught him that "the real perils of life" are cynicism, dispiritedness and disappointment, rather than "some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday."
Copyright January 10, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved