The spirit that helped Noah Galloway learn to dance is also helping him boldly meet challenges he encounters in life.
Even if you haven’t been watching “Dancing with the Stars,” you might well have heard about Noah Galloway. Noah had an arm and leg blown away during a mission in Iraq ten years ago.
It has been a remarkable experience watching this army hero the past two months as he worked with Sharna Burgess, his professional dance partner. Not only has he learned to dance, but his spirit is even more impressive as he boldly meets challenges he encounters in life.
Here are four lessons learned from one incredibly inspiring man:
Character shines through.
Noah had a rough time in the beginning when he lost his limbs. He described how he put on a public face of accepting the fact that his body wouldn’t be the same. But privately he became depressed. Not surprisingly he turned to drinking. Fortunately he realized he wanted to be around for his kids and that wasn’t going to be possible with the choices he had been making.
He knew this was the way his body was going to be going forward and he decided to choose his kids over self-pity. Noah wasn’t going to take this new challenge lying down. He attacked a new regimen of exercise and eating that would make his body as strong as possible. He was going to do the most he could do to take back his life.
Week after week on the show, his strength, acceptance and humility come through loud and clear.
Positivity, creativity and stamina bring goals into view.
Noah and Sharna work very hard each week to figure out a way to do movements that are not straightforward when one partner is missing an ankle, knee, wrist and elbow. Since they can’t perform typical body mechanics, the two have to be creative in understanding what moves are possible and capitalizing on those that he is able to do.
The audience tends to focus on the action rather than what is missing or different. Each week there is a new dance. In addition to mastering steps as the other celebrities do, the two have to adapt them to his capabilities.
Noah makes the moves look effortless though no doubt the route he takes to achieve this impression is quite involved.
Emotional connection trumps physical capability any day.
Noah and Sharna have a powerful emotional bond that they have nurtured. We watch as they clearly put the good of their relationship before each of their individual needs.
It is heartwarming to see how the two have successfully faced and surmounted difficulties imposed by his physical limitations. They also care about each other and continue to support each other. In fact, one week Noah was upset because he believed that the film clip aired just before their live dance wasn’t flattering to Sharna.
Noah’s story is moving, but his dancing is breathtaking. One spectacular leap was particularly poignant as Noah first caught Sharna with one hand and then raised her high overhead.
Noah has such strength, stamina and heart. This man who takes such a can-do attitude is inspiring to those of us who are full-bodied.
A dance partnership is built on the relationship, touch is secondary.
Noah and Sharna are working together on this journey, fully invested in each other’s desires and needs. They have developed a strong foundation of trust. While touch is important, their dance relationship is far more involved than purely the physical connection. Their caring about the other is what demonstrates to the audience what might be possible with true collaboration.
Watching these dancers is humbling. Each week the triumphs of this season’s unique team are memorable, to be stored among great visual moments we experience in our lives.
So if you’re looking for excuses, you’ll find them. But if you’re hoping for a reason to jump back into life with both feet, look no longer. Justifying staying on the sidelines is over. If Noah can rank among the final three celebrities while missing two limbs, whatever challenges you face can be silenced. Believe in yourself. Victory is waiting.
When have you gone beyond limitations you initially believed would count you out?
Photo: Noah Galloway/Facebook