Every now and again life blesses us with a new acquaintance whose very presence projects all that is good in our world.
Every now and again we meet someone who radiates pure joie de vive.
Every now and again life places in our path a person who inspires us by their very presence and whose boundless energy, zest for life and insatiable enthusiasm serve to powerfully reinforce the truth that the quality of our lives is determined by the thoughts in our heads and that we exercise absolute, irrefutable control over the meaning we place on the hand that life deals us.
I recently had the great honour of meeting such a person.
Some years ago, while a passenger in a friend’s car and on his way home from hockey practice, he was struck by a bullet fired by a young man with whom a few angry words had been exchanged.
The bullet damaged his spinal cord and he woke up in a hospital bed to the news that he was now a C5 quadriplegic.
He would have minimal, limited use of his arms and hands.
He would live his life in a wheelchair.
He would never walk again.
He would never play hockey again.
He would never drive again.
These were the facts of his new life:
He was a quadriplegic.
He would be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.
He was otherwise perfectly healthy.
He was going to live a long life.
He was only twenty-two years old.
And at that young age, with wisdom and maturity well beyond his years, he made a few profound decisions.
The first was this: It is what it is. This was the irrefutable reality of his life and he had no way of changing it.
But, what he decided he did have, was complete and absolute control over the choices he had available to himself regarding the degree to which this would impact his life.
He chose not to give up on any of his dreams.
He chose not to even consider the possibility of a life of mediocrity.
He chose to pursue the same dreams he had always had.
He chose to dedicate his life to making our world a better place.
He spent nine long months recuperating in a hospital and then headed straight to university in pursuit of a degree.
Several years later, having obtained an under graduate degree he enter Law School and, upon graduation, went to work for one of the large national law firms.
He toiled successfully in this career for seven years and was then approached to run as a Liberal candidate in the upcoming provincial election.
For those of you unfamiliar with Alberta politics, a Liberal in Calgary is like the mythical unicorn: while they are rumoured to exist, there has never actually been a confirmed sighting of one.
Despite overwhelming odds he won the election and now serves as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the riding of Calgary Buffalo.
In the short time I have known him I have never seen him angry, upset, annoyed or anything but happy. He always has an encouraging word and possesses the magical gift of placing a smile on every face he passes.
He has told me how much he loves life and how grateful he is for the joy-filled life he has.
He’s really quite remarkable.
In fact, as I have gotten to know him, I can only think of two traits that impugn his otherwise flawless character and that detract from his magnificence as a human being:
- He’s a lawyer.
- He’s a politician.
And we all know that no good can possibly come from that.
He has repeatedly demonstrated his remarkable strength in overcoming the gigantic barriers that life has placed in his path so I have no doubt he will rise above the shame and embarrassment that those two unfortunate career choices have brought upon him.
My new friends name is Kent Hehr.
Kent believes that the only barriers to a life of greatness are those fictional barriers that reside in our heads.
He proves every day that the quality of our lives is the quality of our thoughts.
He is the role model for what is possible.
Kent, you have already achieved one of your life’s goals. You make the world a better place by your very presence.
I’m so very proud to call you my friend.
Even if you are a Liberal.
Till we read again.
P.S. Please click here to read a complimentary copy of my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours. If you would like to purchase your very own copy you can do so by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can click here and those fine folks at Self Connection will rush one to you.