FAMILY FUSION: Never say never – Part II
“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one.”
WHEN I FIRST READ the life story of Australian-born Nick Vujicic, I was greatly challenged.
Here was a man who was born without arms or legs but has accomplished far more than the average human with all limbs intact.
Nick became depressed and contemplated suicide at age eight, but with the support of his Christian parents, he eventually thanked God for life and began to look beyond his circumstances. He saw that there is nothing too difficult if you have the correct attitude toward life.
He learned to swim, write and use the computer, graduated from college with a double major in accounting and financial planning; became financially independent at 25; started a non-profit organisation Life Without Limbs; wrote his first book No Arms, No Limbs, No Worries and has spoken to millions of children and adults across the world. The list of his achievements goes on and on.
I thought of highlighting Nick as a means of sending a signal to some of our youngsters, who seem contented to waste away their precious talents, rather than applying themselves and developing their capabilities to do great things. Nick’s story is motivating to those who are already purpose-driven to continue with greater drive to reach the peak of their potential. Like Nick, there are individuals who, despite the odds, have demonstrated through their successes that they will themselves never say never.
At age 17, Maryland-born Joni Eareckson Tada became a quadriplegic after a serious vehicular accident, paralysed from the shoulders down. Initially depressed, suicidal and angry with God, she became hopeless. She began to gradually change her attitude and gained a positive outlook on life, deciding that she should never say never as far as achieving the positive.
With a pencil stuck between her teeth, determination to write and draw and robust faith in God, this remarkable woman is now author of several books and has challenged thousands with her creative artwork. She has travelled to several countries inspiring and motivating both the disabled and the able-bodied to never to say never. For her, the biblical injunction that she could do all things through Christ, who gives her the strength to be a winner, became the key to her success story. Her rewards are numerous.
There is a woman who, though visually impaired from a tender age, has been able with persistence, perseverance and perspiration to have a “never say never” approach to life. Being the first female and youngest President of the Barbados Senate, Senator Kerryann F. Ifill is a glowing example of someone who refused to allow circumstances to deter her from aiming for the highest heights in all that she does. This outstanding woman is the first visually impaired student to graduate from the University of the West Indies and has acquired a Master of Business Administration from Durham University Business School. Kerryann is a visionary and strong advocate for the rights of the disabled. She is an excellent role model that many should emulate.
There was a young man from the Middle East who was once a gangster. He had a band of cut-throats who were given permission by the law to carry out their violent acts in different neighbourhoods. This vicious leader confessed to having beaten, killed and terrorised many people within many regions.
Interestingly, prior to his turning gangster, he was a high-profile law graduate from one of the most prestigious universities at that time. He spoke of a midday encounter with God that became a defining moment for him. This experience left him blind for three days, transforming the thoughts he had of himself and others. He became an advocate for positive and effective living. This dramatic account is found in the Bible in the book of Acts Chapter 9.
This man Paul later penned the words: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), which became his “never say never” motivation for all that he accomplished. When those words were written, he was in a prison cell, not for the negative things he did, but because the authorities of the time did not like his desire and passion to inspire people to reach their full potential. He wanted everybody to know that real success was within anyone’s reach and that God could give the physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual strength to accomplish their goals.
Paul had faith in himself and therefore never looked at himself negatively, nor was he standing by to wait for anyone to affirm him. The faith and love he embraced for himself were able to help him conquer the vicious attacks that were hurled at his character. In his writings he said “none of these things move me”.
He had faith in the goals he set for himself, and pursued them with drive and enthusiasm. To him, there was nothing called “never”.
Above all, Paul had faith in his God, the one he believed created the universe out of nothing and therefore could provide all the resources he required to achieve anything he set his mind to do. Today millions of people are still benefiting from his insightful and inspiring writings.
Get off the negative track of life and adopt a “never say never” approach to living.
Reverend Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant. Email [email protected]