John O’Leary shares how the final wish of this wise little boy is what we should all be wishing for this holiday season.
“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” – Dalai Lama
What are you wishing for?
It’s a question many of us ask our children this time of year.
But what if the question was asked of you? What if you could arrange a safe, socially-distant, one-to-one meeting with Santa?
What would you wish for?
Near the end of this wildly difficult year and in the midst of an array of personal challenges we face, I was reminded of a remarkable little boy’s answer to that question. Let me explain.
After speaking at a medical conference, a pediatric oncologist approached, gave me a big hug and shared the impact of the presentation on her (don’t worry, this was before the pandemic…).
She shared that in the busyness of work and with the endless demands of life, she’d simply forgotten how profoundly important her work was.
My keynote reminded her that her work mattered and just how much she loved the people she served. I asked her to share her favorite work experience.
She hesitated… became visibly emotional… before sharing the story of an eight-year-old patient.
The doctor had gotten to know the boy and his family over the months of his battle with cancer. It was a battle he’d bravely fought. And it was one he no longer was capable of continuing.
There was a special day when a representative of Make-A-Wish, the beautiful people who make sick children’s dreams come true, came into his room. Many kids wish for a trip to Disney World or to meet a professional athlete or a ride on a fire truck.
The representative explained that whatever he wished for, it would be her job to do whatever she could to grant it. His brown eyes lit up and he smiled broadly. “So,” she asked, “What do you wish for?”
He looked around the room, at his parents, then back to the woman. He motioned for her to come closer. She bent down. He stood on his tippy toes, leaned towards her and whispered: “My parents don’t know how sick I am. They don’t know I am dying.”
There was a pause as he looked over at his parents to make sure they weren’t listening, and then, “My wish is for them to be at peace when I am gone.”
Make this your wish this holiday season to rediscover your purpose and contentment in pandemic life.
So, what’s your wish?
My friends, 2020 has indeed been a profoundly difficult year. Most of us wish it would just end.
Even in previous years, when we encountered hardships in our relationships, stresses in our financial situations, or adversity in our lives we typically wish things would improve… for us.
But how might our lives elevate if we were to focus less on what we might get out of something, and far more on investing to make something better for others?
How might we embrace the promise of this holiday season in recognizing it’s not about what we get for ourselves, but how we better those we encounter?
And how might the final wish of a little boy, one of peace for his family, remind us all what we should be hoping for and striving to deliver to others, not only over the holidays, but always?
Today, slow down.
Let go of the things you can’t control, be grateful for what you already have and wish for the peace to continue boldly. No, it won’t alleviate the challenges you face, but will provide the courage to continue forward, the faith that there is reason for hope, and the conviction that even better days are yet to come.
This is your day. Live Inspired.