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don't give upA few months ago, we saw the movie “The Theory of Everything,” a story of Stephen Hawking’s life.  Throughout most of the movie I kept thinking, “well, when does he die?”  They told him he had 2 years to live, at the age of 21, when he was diagnosed with a version of ALS. The longer the movie went on, the more years passed and it became more apparent that although the illness took a huge toll on his body, eventually leaving him in a wheelchair, unable to care for himself, and not even being able to speak without the help of a computer, he was still alive.

I didn’t realize going into the movie that Stephen Hawking is still alive today at 73 years of age.

He has definitely faced more obstacles than most of us will ever have to face. There are multiple reports out there with theories of why he was able to beat the disease, where others have died so quickly. There are lots of theories on ALS disease and upper neurons and lower neurons and probabilities.

Maybe it is just luck… But I don’t think so. I have my own theory.

Stephen Hawking is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein. For 30 years he held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, he has authored several books, holds over a dozen honorary degrees, and is still traveling extensively giving public lectures.

My theory of his survival is his will to live, knowing that his brain would continue to function. The disease has affected almost all of his physical functioning, but it did not affect his brain. He valued his research and studies, and chose not to give up, when his body gave out. It seems that knowing he would maintain his brain functioning was enough for him, to have plenty of reasons to keep living each day to the fullest, not worrying about his imminent death.

I believe that our human “will” is much stronger than science can measure. That’s not to say that God does not play a part in bringing his children back to Him in His proper timing. But our will to live and work and grow, also makes a big impact on our lives, and the quality of our lives.

Later in life, Stephen said:

“Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”  – Stephen Hawking

He made a choice not to let the difficulties of his particular life stop him from the things that he really wanted.  He was married twice, has three children and three grandchildren.  Since 2009 he has written children’s books with his daughter Lucy. He continued to do all that he could do, and wanted to do, without giving into despair, even though he requires full-time care for his physical body.

I think the lesson that we can learn from his life is that we all have something we can contribute, no matter how hard life has been. Each and every person that has ever lived has trials. We each mourn. We struggle. We battle. Even though our trials are different from each other, we all have the commonality of having to decide if we will fight to improve our lives in spite of our adversities, or will we use the adversities as an excuse to stop working.

We all have that choice. How will we proceed when life does not go as planned? Some people’s difficulties are much bigger than others, and that just means that they will have to work harder to overcome, but it doesn’t mean that they cannot overcome. It also means that when they have worked hard, and overcome more than others might have had to, they are also stronger, and have learned more about life.

And isn’t that the real meaning of life? To grow stronger, learn as much as we can, and love others, ourselves and God enough to keeping working and helping and improving the world right where we live.   — Laura

Information about Stephen Hawking found at


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