“Outer beauty pleases the EYE. Inner beauty captivates the HEART.” – M. Hale [Tweet this.]
When was the last time you met someone that you knew was a hero?
The kind of person that, the moment you met them, you knew it in the way they spoke, went about their work, served others, made a difference, and lived their life?
Last week I met one. Before speaking at an event I met him. But his story begins back in April.
In April, Alex sprinted through the kitchen right as his aunt was taking a pan of hot grease off the stove. They collided, and the grease terribly burned his face, chest and back. Little seven-year-old Alex was raced to the ICU, spent over a month there, endured reconstructive surgery on his eyes, ears, lips and chest.
When we met last week he shared that he is still in rehab, still in some pain, and most of all: still absolutely alive.
While downing cupcakes together I asked if he remembered the fire, “Oh yes, it hurt.” What hurt the most, “Those therapists. They love to stretch me.” What was the worst part, “Being away from my brother.” Anything cool happen in hospital, “The baseball team visited me. It was awesome. I didn’t tell them, but I am a Yankees fan.” Do people stare at you today “Yes.”
How does it make you feel, “I just don’t care. They’re just scars. They’re not me.”
I began my testimony that day by asking Alex to join me on the stage. He jumped to his feet, left the first row, and waddled up the five steps. As a reminder to the audience that we all have stories, I wanted to encourage this little guy to share his amazing story and life with us.
I asked his name, his age, what happened, how it felt, what it was like, and how he was doing. Finally asking if there was anything he wanted to say to all these people, he took the microphone in his little hands, looked out through big, vibrant brown eyes, and spoke with the innocence of a child, “These are just scars, they’re not me, and I am totally normal and fine.”
He went to take his seat and the church leapt to their feet.
Afterwards his mom was crying and Alex walked over to her, put his arms around her, and said, “Mom, there is no reason to cry. I am a star now.”
How right he is.
My friends, this little man is so vibrantly alive. Alex has what the rest of us are searching for. While we steady ourselves in the mirror, applying the makeup, doing the comb-over, and using tweezers on our eyebrows, he realizes that looks don’t define us. Stares don’t define us. Others can’t define us.
Heroes aren’t made in a mirror, they’re made instead by allowing the inner beauty of their heart reflect and radiate light to a world absolutely starved for it. [Tweet this.]
This morning, go on striving to look beautiful or handsome. Get the hair, the face, the outfit just right. But realize a truth known already by Alex: that you are already beautiful and perfect regardless what some mirror (or someone else) may tell you.
Yes indeed, the best is yet to come. See that reflection now.