POINT TO PONDER
Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.
The New Year is upon us and in looking forward to 2012 we here at Friday Reflections wanted to get the year started right. In the spirit of following your own path, I've compiled some stories and random bits from people that did extraordinary things in 2011:
At one hundred years old, Fauja Singh of Britain, became the oldest person to complete a full 26 mile marathon in Toronto, Canada.
Rob Summers, a former collegiate baseball player who played on the winning team of the 2006 College World Series, was paralyzed from the chest down after being hit by a car in, coincidentally, 2006. After four years of not being able to move, doctors implanted 16 electrodes into his damaged spinal cord. He trained daily, putting in countless hours to rehabilitate and Rob now is able to stand, walk independently, and has regained control of his bladder, bowel, and blood pressure functions.
After learning that coastal forests in North Carolina were being cut down to provide packaging for KFC and McDonalds, eight year old student Cole Rasenberger convinced everyone at his school - 2,250 in total - to write postcards to McDonalds encouraging the company to change their packaging choices. All 2,250 postcards were sent to McDonalds and a short time after receiving the postcards, McDonalds announced it was switching to 100 percent recycled paper bags. Cole's next target is KFC and he's already rallied 6,000 to write postcards and hand delivered them to the KFC headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
Susanne Janson lost her two daughters (fourteen years and twelve years old) and her ex-husband to the Tsunami that ravaged the coasts of Thailand in 2004. Heartbroken and unable to return to work as an advertising executive, Janson instead decided to stay in Thailand. She had heard a young couple were opening an orphanage in Phuket to take in children who had lost their parents in the disaster. Janson decided to help and today the orphanage houses 24 children, mothers, and grandparents affected by the tsunami. This past June, Janson hit a milestone: Fame, a teenage boy living in the orphanage will be heading to college. A huge feat in the poverty striken area in which she now lives. Janson says, “"My daughters loved their life. And I wanted to show them that I would survive this. And if (I) could help my new children to love their lives, at least one good thing came out of this."
REFLECTION by Rajiv Shah
2011 has been a monumental year. Natural disaster would strike as we all know - Japan would be rocked by an 8.9 earthquake in March and subsequent tsunami while Turkey dealt with a 7.2 magnitude quake of their own in October.
2011 saw the death of technological giant Steve Jobs.
January found Egyptian President Mubarak step down from power, a harbinger of the upheavals that would follow in Libya and Syria. On a smaller scale citizens at home followed suit as Occupy protesters took to US streets to voice their displeasure with the current state of the US economy. Elsewhere in the world, similar protests were being staged as Greece's prime minister stepped down from power amidst the European economic crisis.
2011 was a year where the world saw much tension, unrest, and ultimately, change. And one hopes that from this change will come growth, a new way to live and prosper. Amidst it all, good was forged on large and small scales, by people like the ones in this friday reflection, people not so different than you and me. Each one faced adversity and found a way to persevere. Tension is essential, it is a place where we are forced to stretch, to challenge, to find a new way, and to blossom. For from a crack in the earth a flower finds a way to grow.
I do hope the experiences retold in this friday reflection inspire you to create your own stories in 2012, to continue walking your path and blazing your own trails.