I can’t vs. I won’t

ethan hawke quote

One day, I woke up so refreshed, it felt like every cell in my body was revitalized. I ran to the window, looked outside and the sun was setting. I had missed the entire day SLEEPING.

No biggie. I slept through the entire workday, and noticed my cell phone was bombarded with phone calls. They must’ve thought I died. Since when does Paul miss work? No call, no show is just aberrant behavior.

It didn’t matter, because I felt like flying. I walked outside in my boxers, barefoot and all, and leapt into the air and flew. I didn’t get very far, because I thought to myself, “I can’t fly!”

I landed in a playground not too far away, and a child walked up to me, and asked me what was wrong. I told him that I tried to fly, and I couldn’t stay up.

He giggled and asked, “Why do you pretend that you cannot fly?”

“Pretend??”

“Just jump in the air and go!”, and there he went. He didn’t look back, and here I was, trapped on the ground.

I jumped, and landed on my feet. I jumped again, and it seemed even more difficult.

Then a little girl walks up to me, “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t seem to fly”, I looked up into the sky as I said it.

“Yes you can”, she said in a matter of fact way, “Just jump into the sky, don’t you remember?”

“I came close when I got out of bed, but now, I don’t know…”, my voice trailed off, hoping she could help me in some miraculous way.

“You’ll figure it out. It’s not hard.”

“You make it sound so easy. I’m trying.”

“Well, watch me“, and she flew into the sky, and never looked back.

Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I….

And it hit me. It was so obvious. I was simply asking the WRONG questions.

It’s not that I “can’t” do it, because I just did it, even for a brief period of time.

It’s just that I “won’t” do it.

Why won’t I fly?

Why won’t I fly? Why won’t I fly? I want to fly into the deep blue sky…

And I jumped and flew after the little girl. As I flew faster, I eventually passed her and began looking for the boy, but he was nowhere to be found. I just wanted to show him that I made it, but it didn’t matter.

They both helped me to see what I could not. That I was always capable. I had simply forgotten.

It’s not that I can’t do something, it’s just that I won’t do it, and that choice made all the difference in the world.

Paul

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