The ageless Dick Van Dyke is 95 now but he doesn’t act like it. In his book, KEEP MOVING, he tells about filming a movie for Disney when he suddenly felt the back of his leg snap like a rubber band. He was performing a dance scene at the time. But, the injury got worse, so he went to the doctor to find out what was wrong.
After reviewing a number of x-rays, the doctor looked at Van Dyke and said, “You’re covered with arthritis from head to foot. I’m surprised you could dance. I’ve never seen so much arthritis in a single person.” With his wry sense of humor, Dick said, “Well, what about a married person?”
The doctor told him “Married or single, you’re literally suffused with arthritis,” and he told him the pain in his leg was from the arthritis and this was no joking matter. He went on to predict that Van Dyke would be using a walker, if not a wheelchair, in five years.
Dick said he was so scared by the news he got up and started tapping his toes and shuffling around until he was dancing, “as if proving to myself I could still order my body to do a soft shoe anytime I wanted.”1
The doctor looked at him in shock.
That was in 1967 … when Dick Van Dyke was FORTY YEARS OLD.
He went on to say, “I have not stopped moving ever since. Nor do I plan to hit the stop button anytime soon … As a card-carrying the glass-is-half-full optimist, I’m going to … declare that old age doesn’t have to be a dreary weather report. In 99.9 percent of the stories I have heard it is better than the alternative.”2
Helen Keller, who lost both her sight and hearing after battling an illness as a 19-month-old baby, went on to become a national treasure. She became the first deaf and blind person ever to earn a bachelor’s degree. She also wrote a dozen books, one of which was based on her philosophy of life, simply titled, OPTIMISM.
Among other great gems, she said, “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land.”
“Optimism isn’t at odds with the reality that is all around us. It simply means we’re anchored to another reality – the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Mark Batterson wrote this about Helen: “The last page of her book echoes the first page of Scripture. ‘Optimism is the harmony of man’s spirit and the Spirit of God pronouncing His works good.’ If the Spirit of God is within you, optimism is the order of the day. It’s part of your spiritual birthright. Optimism isn’t at odds with the reality that is all around us. It simply means we’re anchored to another reality – the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ – that is deeper and stronger and longer than the reality we can perceive with our five senses.”3
Here’s why every follower of JESUS can be and should be an optimist:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31)
Toes tapping yet? If not, get up and start moving!
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron
1 Dyke, Dick Van. Keep Moving. Weinstein Publishing, 2015, ix-xi
3 Batterson, Mark. If - Trading Your If Only Regrets for Gods What If Possibilities. Baker Publishing Group, 2016. Pgs. 130-131.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.