Look around us, or perhaps a little farther, and you can find inspiring people who have shown us how they leaped way past obstacles or challenges in their lives.
There are saints among us. I call them saints because they are here for a purpose far greater than their own, but for all of us.
I was watching a Taiwanese cable TV program, and one of the seasoned journalists talked about a celebrity couple with a hearing impaired child. The father of the child was at first perplexed about how best to raise his child, but he came across a story. Let me paraphrase it a little here.
There was a father who had a child with a bradykinesia disorder, which means his child suffered from a condition where he could only move slowly, many times slower than others. As such, the child was unable to play with other kids in sports and other action-oriented activities.
Once, the father brought his child to sit in a park, and the child saw a bunch of kids playing baseball. The child said, “dad, it would be so nice to be able to play baseball.”
Some other dad might have been affected and would have persuaded his child to do something else, perhaps grab lunch or stroll home. But this father did something different. He went to the kids and asked if they could allow his child to play with them. The kids said yes.
Baseball is a very fast-paced game, and speed is key. There seemed no way the child with bradykinesia could play baseball.
The kids asked the child to be a batter. The pitcher, instead of throwing a hard and fast ball, chose to roll the baseball slowly towards the child instead. The child used his bat to hit the ball and the pitcher caught the ball. Instead of passing on the ball, the pitcher held on the ball to allow the child to start moving from base to base to get a home run.
That was the last time the child played baseball, because he passed on not long after.
There are many people who have braved past their challenges and constraints, and emerged inspirational people we admire and respect. Helen Keller, H.G. Wells, Hans Christian Anderson, Stevie Wonder, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ray Charles, James Earl Jones, Vincent Van Gogh, Kelly Sutton, and so many other luminaries, come to mind.
I have scoliosis, and one very senior orthopedic surgeon looked at my X-rays, and wondered how I can still walk, rather than be confined to a wheelchair.
As a Christian, I see my existence as a tender mercy of God. I also religiously work out since my teens to stay active, with assistive resistance training to build up a muscle base that can sustain my scoliosis. I have been blessed to remain active and mobile. I have also met many kind souls who have given me opportunities throughout my life despite my challenges. I am grateful to these saints.
In life, every one will have unique challenges and obstacles. Do we succumb to them, mere commas in a long essay, or do we brave on, and also lean on the kind souls who often appear in our paths when such times arise? Life can be a wondrous journey, it really depends on whether we accept a full stop, or accept that we can unravel a meaningful essay of life that can also bring joy and illumination to others.