I headed for our Garage/Home Gym this afternoon for my physical/spiritual exercise and was totally bummed that the DVR we have out there didn’t record my Super Soul Sunday this past week. Upon investigating the possible reasons why, I found the show was a repeat and the DVR is set to record only new episodes. Dang-it! I’d seen the preview clip of Mark Nepo and “The One Conversation” and was psyched to tune into that. I did still have half of the episode featuring “Emmanuel’s Gift” to watch, but incorrectly reasoned that I’d pretty much collected my gift from that one. So like a child on Christmas morning, after a short burst of enthusiasm, I was ready to throw it aside and seek out the next present with my name on it. I begrudged the situation for just a minute, patted myself on the back for the short begrudging session, and then got back into my “grateful and receptive mind” and hit play on the Emmanuel episode.
Imagine being born with a physical deformity in a country that shuns those “imperfect” souls. Where if not abandoned or purposefully killed, the life of a street beggar is the only norm you have to choose from. Emmanuel was such a soul, born in such a country, Ghana, West Africa. His right leg consisted of a thigh and knee with a deformed foot tacked onto the knee. But his is a spirit that would not settle for the life prescribed for him by his culture. He was determined to make something of himself for himself and for his family. He worked to support his mother and siblings and applied for a grant for a simple bicycle from an American group that champions disabled athletes. The grant application and the bicycle he received altered his life and later his body, as he would soon receive a prosthetic leg and go on to be a champion for other disabled people in his home country, transforming futures, while at the same time reshaping a culture’s view of its disabled citizens.
Watching the bravery, courage, and determination of this young man was humbling. I admitted to myself and now confess to you that any excuses I have for not doing anything are lamer than lame. This young man left his village each day, travelling a great distance on just one leg to an urban area , just so he could make the grand sum of $2 a day shining shoes in order to feed his family. He did that in the face of a culture that told him he was worth absolutely nothing and destined to beg on the streets for the rest of his life.
He showed that country and the world. He showed us all an awe-inspiring depth and breadth of selflessness and endurance. He proved that resoluteness of spirit and perseverance of dreams is all it really takes to change one’s life, and to go forward to change attitudes and affect others in the most positive and amazing ways. I was bathed in waves of empathetic emotion, inspiration, and awe as I witnessed his story and received his gift. It was a gift which arrived unexpectedly, when I accepted that I’d have to watch that episode, when I accepted “what was”. “What was”, was right there waiting for me to find it! A beautiful gift. Emmanuel’s gift.
I encourage you to check it out for yourself, because he’s got one with your name on it too!
Peace and Love