Discovering What Matters Most
At a time when we are all more rudderless than ever, we look for the very best teachers and mentors to guide us. In Fully Alive, an unusual and gripping memoir, Timothy Shriver shows how his teachers have been the world’s most forgotten minority: people with intellectual disabilities. In these pages we meet the individuals who helped him come of age and find a deeper and more meaningful way to see the world.
Shriver’s journey begins close to home, where the quiet legacy of his aunt Rosemary, a Kennedy whose intellectual disability kept her far from the limelight, inspired his family to devote their careers to helping the most vulnerable. He plays alongside the children of Camp Shriver, his mother’s revolutionary project, which provided a space for children with intellectual disabilities to play, and years later he gains invaluable wisdom from the incredible athletes he befriends as chairman of the organization it inspired, Special Olympics. Through these experiences and encounters with scholars, spiritual masters, and political icons such as Nelson Mandela, Shriver learns how to find humility and speak openly of vulnerability and faith.
Fully Alive is both a moving personal journey and a meditation on some of the greatest wisdom and the greatest contradictions of our society. Is disability to be feared or welcomed, pitied or purged? Shriver argues that we all have different abilities and challenges we should embrace. Here we see how those who appear powerless have turned this seeming shortcoming into a power of their own, and we learn that we are all totally vulnerable and valuable at the same time.
This is the story of Rosemary Kennedy’s role in leading the family to its force as advocates for the disabled all over the world, of her sister Eunice Shriver’s founding of Special Olympics, of her nephew Timothy’s dedication to this great cause. I was lifted, edified, riveted.Anne Lamott, author of Small Victories
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