“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino [Tweet this.]
Recently I spoke at a community event.
There were more than 800 people, many of whom were students.
We spent 75 minutes discussing The Power of One; how one person, one decision, one action can literally change the world.
Afterwards, a young man came up and asked if we could talk for a moment. I responded, “absolutely.”
We walked over to a quiet area and sat down in the theater.
He told me how moved he was during the presentation. He shared that he was new to the area and struggling in school. His eyes watered as he spoke.
Then he asked a telling question: “John, were there ever days when you regretted living through the fire; or days afterwards when you wondered if you’d be better off dead?”
Frequently we judge others on the answers they provide. But if we listen closely, the best way to truly know someone is to listen to the questions they ask.
I answered his question.
Told him honestly that there were many difficult days that I struggled mightily: Five long months in the hospital, losing my fingers to amputation, difficulties in school, challenges in dating and struggles professionally.
But that, through those challenges, character was forged and made stronger, more compassionate and more driven. And, in looking back on it, I even consider myself more blessed because of the challenges.
We then shifted and talked about him.
We discussed his family, his struggles, his school and his life. It was an honest, painful and beautifully open conversation. At the end as we got ready to step back into crowds and life, I asked what he was thinking now.
He responded that today was the first day of the rest of his life. He shared that he wanted to live. He committed to talking to his school counselor and gave me permission to share the conversation with his principal.
The fight was no longer just his. And the darkness was no longer more powerful than the light.
My friends, we all go through dark times. The good news is that although light is awesome and shows us the way, it is the darkness that permits us to actually see the stars and appreciate the light. [Tweet this.]
Stay on fire. And know that the best is yet to come.
What is one thing you have learned from a past challenge in your life? Share in the comments below to give all of our community members who are in a “dark” time hope that they will find the stars within their darkness soon.