“Walking With Nathaniel”

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I read the story of Nathaniel and the courage of his father on CNN’s website this afternoon and I’d like to share an excerpt with you. You can leave a reply to share your thoughts or better still share the story on your social network. Pay particular attention to the lines I have highlighted in bold – huge lessons in them.

  • “On April 21, Denis Asselin, 63, stepped out his front door to embark on a 525-mile (6 weeks) walk from Philadelphia to Boston in memory of his son Nathaniel, who took his life last year after a 13-year battle with body dysmorphic disorder, a condition related to obsessive compulsive disorder. Nathaniel was 24.

    With a photo of Nathaniel attached to his walking stick, Asselin is visiting the schools, clinics and medical facilities where Nathaniel had been treated over the years, as well as the places where he experienced the greatest joys in his short life. There he will share his story as a parent of a child with body dysmorphic disorder. The journey will end in downtown Boston on Thursday, June 7.

    My huge undertaking has become a journey of faith where I allow true learning to happen.

    What have I learned so far? I am learning about myself, about others and about my place and purpose in the world.

    I am learning that…

    1. Not many people know about the cruel brain disorder, BDD. They have heard of OCD, but not much about the former. Therefore, I tell them Nathaniel’s story.

    2. You can never fully know whose life you will touch by making yourself available to others and by speaking from the heart.

    3. The first 10 seconds of my encounters with strangers are the most critical in gaining their attention and their willingness to hear more and to learn more. I usually vary my approach, but I must always choose my initial words carefully. They are the portals through which connections occur.

    4. When you mention brain disorders, you intentionally open the doors for your listeners to also share their stories about similar conditions in their own lives, in their own families and among their own friends. I’m learning to be a good listener.

    5. If you put one foot in front of the other, you will eventually get somewhere.

    6. Everyone seems to be rushing somewhere, mostly in cars, and don’t seem to be very happy about it. Apparently, increasing one’s speed doesn’t necessarily bring happiness.

    7. Acts of kindness still happen in the world based on my direct experiences of the generosity of others during these past weeks.

    8. Life doesn’t get any better than when you live it fully outside. Walking outdoors puts you directly in touch with nature but also with yourself.

    9. I marvel at my own resilience, resolve, flexibility and spontaneity. I never knew I already had these skills in such huge quantities.

    10. The best rule of thumb when walking is to be open, to be attentive, to be present and to let life unfold in front of you. I am “Walking with Nathaniel.”

    Asselin chronicled his experience on his blog.

    Original article can be found on CNN website: “Dad walks 525 miles after son’s suicide”

    About Joseph Iregbu

    I'm a writer, purpose guy, speaker and business consultant. My passion is to help people live with purpose and not waste their lives. I live in the UK with my wife, Temi and our gorgeous Isabel Juda. Let's connect on Twitter and Facebook.