When I was a girl, one of my favorite books was by Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could. The little bright blue engine with the load of toys and dolls chugged up and over the mountain saying, “I think I can, I think I can,” and inspired generations of children. Published in 1930, the book indoctrinated thousands, if not millions with the ideology of independence and the ethic of hard work. Even the World War II posters of Rosie the Riveter proclaimed, “We can do it!” Don’t give up, keep trying, you can be anything you want, you can do it! I cross stitched the saying and hung it in my own children’s rooms. I said it over and over to them when homework got hard, when the training wheels came off their bikes, any time hardship rose its ugly head. Mind over matter. You can do it! But, what happens when you can’t? What happens when you get that degree, but no jobs are to be found in your choice of career? What happens when you don’t have the gifts, the physical power or the brains that it takes to finish a task? What happens when everyone around you says don’t give up and all you want to do is slide back to the bottom of the hill and tell the toys and dolls to get their lazy butts off the train and walk over the rise themselves? I had a doctor’s appointment this week. I have two choices in dealing with the pain in my legs. Number One, “Use it or lose it,” and Number Two, “Take more pain meds.” Now, I know the consequences of taking more pain meds, so I won’t do Number Two. Neither is Number One appealing. When I hurt so bad that all I can do is crawl into bed at the end of the day, the last thing on my mind is getting on a bike or treadmill. Surrender to the pain sounds so much easier. But, many times, surrender isn’t all bad. As long as we surrender to the right things. In my case, it required me to give up trying to be stoic and ask for help. My insurance company offers massage therapy, physical therapy and personal training. I just have to take advantage of them. So, while I am willing to surrender to the need for help in getting relief, I don’t have to surrender to the easy way out which would be in the form of pain medicine that makes me sleepy and unable to get out of bed. I’ve got helpful people on my side. Goading me with “Use it or lose it,” or jokes about wheelchairs do not motivate me. What does motivate me? Places I want to go where a wheelchair would be impossible to use. Alaska. Guatemala. The Grand Canyon. Scotland. Time to get my butt off the train and push it over the hill myself.