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Finding Courage: Facing My Challenges

By Joey Havens

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Last week, I told the story I told about the blind man I had observed at church and at the gym. If you haven’t read it, you might want to click here and give it a quick read so this blog will make more sense to you. Shortly after I wrote that blog, I finally met the man whom I had written about. 

God seems to do things like that sometimes to keep me focused! I was at the gym one morning and before I could check in, the blind man walked in and came up to the counter. As you might expect from my first blog, he walked right to the counter just like he could see and talked to the staff person who obviously knew him. 

I really had a tight schedule that day, so I turned my back and began to take off my jacket and proceed into the workout area. Then, I remembered my commitment to meet him and share with him how much he had inspired me. So, I pushed out of my comfort zone and I went over and introduced myself.

We had a wonderful conversation as he shared with me about his life, his challenges and his vision for the future. I was spellbound to say the least. I learned more in those 45 minutes than I had in a long time. Out of respect for him and his privacy, I will only share today some of the things that I learned.

He told me that he was an extremely successful young business person when he had his accident. He described himself as a workaholic at the time, and he was taking his first ever real break from work. He was riding his motorcycle up to a big Harley Davidson rally in the Dakotas, but just 25 miles from home, he was involved in a wreck that left him blind and with brain damage. A long recovery ensued. 

As we chatted, I asked him how he maintained such a positive attitude. 

“I realized that God blinded me so that I could see,” he said.

He also shared these thoughts (which I am paraphrasing):

I can see now because I understand what is important and what matters in life. Also, I am impaired, not handicapped. How you view yourself determines what you can and cannot do. I love to learn and study all types of history and current events. I donate my time to non-profits to help them with consulting that they otherwise could not afford. I am happy. 

I shared with him what an inspiration he had been to me and thanked him for sharing with me and for demonstrating the courage that we all need more of as we face the challenges of today’s world. He was tickled that I had blogged about him.

I’m so glad I pushed myself out of that comfort zone, and that I shared with him how much I appreciated his example of real courage. I’m so glad I listened to him rather than running off to my busy schedule. I can see clearer as a result of meeting him, and I’m so glad I took the time.

While this gentleman’s physical impairment led to a greater view into himself and what he could accomplish in life, it has challenged me to look deep inside at my own hidden impairments—the blind spots in my own life—that may inhibit my success or that of others around me. Do you have the courage to push out of your comfort zone and pursue greatness?