My job as a motivational speaker is to spread humor and share the hope that is within me. And yesterday, it was my turn to be on the receiving end. I want you to meet Jake – one of my new best friends. (Sorry, Jake, if you don't feel the same love – but get over it – you're now one of my peeps.)
He and his mother/business partner (and a true angel of grace in so many ways) came to meet me last night upon my arrival in Portland, Oregan, for my visit with the NSA chapter here. I don't think I have ever fallen so instantly in love with two people who took me to the lake, stopped the car, pulled out sparkling apple cider, plates, forks, fancy hors d'oeuvres, and toasted my arrival with genuine sincere appreciation. They opened their hearts to me and welcomed me into their world.
Throughought our dinner, we shared our stories, including Jake's life-changing accident five years ago that changed his life. I watched as they laughed about how many times Jake had been inadvertently dumped out of his wheelchair – or the time his mother loaded so many shopping bags on his chair that it tipped him over backwards. My heart constricted as I heard them talk about spending three months in the hospital and the moment when Jake inspired his mother to see this obstacle in a new way. And then it occurred to me – this isn't about the chair. This is about an amazing human being with an incredibly wicked sense of humor and a heart the size of Texas. This is about a young kid (he is a millenial after all) who shows amazing strength every day in a world filled with excruciating pain and physical hardships. And yet here he is, smiling and lighting the world on fire, and changing my life.
It wasn't the chair that made Jake who he is. It was his family. His inner strength. His courage. His sense of humor. And his bravery. He is a walking example of how your story in life will be a result of what you write. Period. I am blessed to know him. And I consider meeting him and his mother another beautiful divine appointment. Yet one more reason why I love my job.
And so today, I ask that you go meet him too. Go to his website and read his story. Buy his book (which I can't WAIT to start on plane ride home) and enjoy yet another example of one who conquers life and refuses to go through it sitting down. (That's a good line, Jake, by the way. Write that down. Wouldn't that be a cool tag line? Jake French – refusing to go through life sitting down)
Anyway. Thank you for listening. And thank you, Jake, for – well – being you. You are amazing. And it really has nothing to do with the chair.