Several years ago I was talking about “leading with love” to a group of business owners and their families… and half of the room had no idea what I’m saying.
Thankfully, we’re in beautiful San Jose, Costa Rica and I have a translator by my side.
My friends, it was a remarkable evening full of laughter, emotion and joy. And as memorable as it was, the following morning is one of the highlights of my career.
Our Costa Rican friend, Radolfo, picked us up early in the morning and drove us to the local children’s hospital. We toured the patients’ rooms, the bandage changing area, the therapy stations. We learned of their great needs, like how there’s not enough money in the budget to provide morphine for these children. We also saw firsthand the profoundly positive impact of the staff: In one room a child was being held by who I thought was her mother, yet it was a nurse who came in on her off day to cuddle and encourage the little girl.
The final stop along the tour was a waiting room bathed in sunlight and jammed with parents, children, nurses and staff members seated, kneeling, and standing. They had gathered to hear the story of a fellow survivor.
Showing pictures of how I was burned and my experiences in a hospital, in therapy, in bandage changes, I reassured them (again, with a little help from our translator), that I understood what they currently faced and the struggle they felt. Then, showing pictures of my beautiful wife, four young children – a tragedy that has become a blessing – I reassured them that the fire, the pain, the scars aren’t the end of their lives, but in truth just the beginning.
Going around the room, the parents and children asked questions and shared their personal stories. It was one of the most emotionally-charged and joy-filled sessions I’ve ever been part of.
As we were leaving, a three-year-old boy named Jorge asked in Spanish if he could hold my hand. So we held hands and then he kept repeating the same phrase:
“No me olvide. Por favor, no me olvide!“
Not understanding what he was saying, I looked away from the sweet little boy, over to Gary, who translated it for me:
“Don’t forget me. Please, don’t forget me!”
Jorge, I never will.
My friends, I hope you won’t, either.
Here was a little boy who left home at 3AM with his mother, drove five hours to be with us for 45 minutes, and drove five hours back to his village, radiating joy. Here was a little boy unable to walk and trapped in absolute poverty, revealing what overflowing wealth looks like. Here was a little boy, burned badly on his torso, midsection and legs, but absolutely on fire with life.
In life, it becomes very easy to focus on the negative. It’s common to look only a political chaos, global breakdowns, relationship struggles, health issues, negative headlines. In focusing too much on what’s wrong, though, we forget exactly how much is right. There is another way, a better way.
Choose to live like Jorge: impoverished, burned, oblivious to all that is wrong… and on fire for all that is right.
In the busyness of our lives, it’s so important to slow down. Pause. Take inventory of what we have, and recognize the calling to do more for others with it. [Click to tweet.]
Don’t forget that. Please, don’t forget that.
This is your day. Live Inspired