Words of Encouragement

Jun 27, 2013

It was early on the next to last day we were in Havana and I was up and at 'em early. Just looking for interesting things when I found myself on the Malecon. I noticed this young fellow walking up on crutches as he had lost a leg and was missing a lot of teeth for his age. He walked over to the seawall and placed a towel on the cap rock then jumped up on it and laid his crutches down and started doing morning exercises. I watched him for some time as I was mesmerized by his strength. He was doing handstands and pushups like there was no tomorrow.

I started visiting with him and he told me that he was a boxer and had gotten in a car wreck about a year ago and lost his leg. In my very limited Spanish that was what I understood. And he had plenty of scars all over his upper body to tell me that he had been in quite a dangerous spot. The more I watched him and the more he went through his routine, I realized that he was sort of doing a yoga routine with strengthening exercises and he seemed to be very peaceful and serene about it all. He had the greatest attitude and I thought to myself, here is a guy who really ran into serious bad luck and look at what he is doing about it. How he is handling it. It was pretty remarkable being in his presence.

We returned home and one day on Facebook this pops up:

Then it dawned on me, here was the confluence and the significance of running into that very serene fellow on the Malecon in Havana that day. I had already felt these vibes from him before but this gave a lot more significance to what the real meaning was. I for one really dislike making a mistake. I know this fellow was really impacted by the mistake that caused him to loose a leg and a boxing career. Can you imagine the reflection he has had on that event? Let's just look at mistakes and talk about what they mean.

It seems like the older I get the more mistakes irritate me. You would think by now I would know the paths to take to stay out of those situations that lead to mistakes. But wait, let's take a look at what a mistake really represents. If we never made a mistake, there would never be a correction and one would remain the same throughout their life. Now I ask you how boring would that person be on a constant basis? It has never happened in the history of man.

Mistakes are part of the creative force in the molding of who we will become as an individual. If you have the persistence to work through mistakes and difficulties then you will come out on the other side a different person and hopefully stronger and wiser and much more able to deal with the vagaries of life. Much like the iron tempered in the fire before it is molded into something useful, ornate and beautiful. However, like us I doubt that iron, if iron could talk, ever wanted to go into the fire in order to be changed.

When you run into failure, it seems to me, one might want to ask "wonder what that means?" What can I learn from this? Mistakes, failures, being wronged, hurt or disappointed are all things that will visit your door. They certainly have knocked on mine and certainly my new friend on the Malecon. We somehow need to have the presence of mind to recognize them for what they are and persist in seeing it through. We may not realize that it just might be in preparation for a silver lining that you never dreamed possible.

So become better at those mistakes and failures that will visit your door. Recognize them for what they are and you will come out the other side stronger for it. The serenity I observed in this fellow really gave me pause. He has taken what he was given and has become stronger for it. There is a resolve in him that I am sure will serve him well in his future. And his attitude in this photo tells it all! I think he would tell you if he can do it then we can do it!

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