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    May 2008

    Mondays with Mac: I Wish You Love

    May 19, 2008 2291 Views

    August 1992. Derrick Redmond from Great Britain was favored to win the 400-meter race during the summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, but as he powered around the backstretch his hamstring snapped. Derrick tried desperately to finish the race, but he still had half the distance to go. Because he couldn't walk, he began to hop. One step – a grimace. Two steps – a yell.

    Jim Redmond had to get to his struggling son. He doesn't remember all the steps down from Section 131, Row 22, Seat 25 of the Olympic Stadium. He doesn't really remember leaping over the railing or pushing off security guards who were too stunned to stop him. He was not just a spectator at the Olympics anymore; Jim Redmond was a father, and he had to get to his son.

    "Dad," Derrick said, "Dad...Get me back to lane five. I want to finish."

    And leaning on each other, father and son made their way around the track as the crowd, with the whole world watching, rose to their feet cheering. Olympic Organizers can light the skies with fireworks, they can invite kings and queens...but this was the magic of real life.

    That day people saw an example of great courage, but they witnessed an even greater story about love.

    Love, simply stated, is the essence of life. It can put the smile on your face, the bounce in your step, and most importantly, the joy in your heart. Even when your whole world is crumbling around you, one person holding your hand, looking into your eyes, saying "I love you" is enough to get you through.

    Love is to attitude as the rain is to flowers. Surround yourself with people who love you, and whom you can love back. This, more than anything else you can do, will provide the music for your life and the fuel for your soul.

    Just recently a friend included a wonderful poem by Robert Ward in her letter to me. I hope you like it as much as I did.

    I wish you the courage to be warm when the world
    Would prefer that you be cool.
    I wish you successes sufficient to your needs;
    I wish you failure to temper that success.
    I wish you joy in all your days; I wish you sadness
    So that you may better measure that joy.
    I wish you gladness to overbalance grief.
    I wish you humor and a twinkle in the eye.
    I wish you glory and the strength to bear its burdens.
    I wish you sunshine on your path and storms to season
    Your journey.
    I wish you peace in the world in which you live and in the
    Smallest corner of the heart where truth is kept.
    I wish you faith to help define your living and your life.
    More I cannot wish you, except perhaps love, to make
    All the rest worthwhile.

    Mondays With Mac: Have Heroes

    May 5, 2008 2977 Views

    Life can be difficult. Things don't always go as planned. Finding inspiration during these times can get us back on track. Sometimes just one thought can provide the energy and courage to fight through adversity.

    For me, at times, this courage comes from thinking of my personal heroes – people who accomplished great things under difficult circumstances, people who put their dreams above their fears...and won.

    Four heroes inspire me every time I think of them. Three you'll know, and one you won't.

    The first is Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to caring for the poorest of the poor. Second, Helen Keller had every excuse to give up on life, yet she persevered and became an inspiration to millions. The third is Abraham Lincoln, who failed in two businesses and lost six elections before becoming the greatest president of the United States.

    My fourth hero is Ricky Johnson. I only met him once, back when I was a sophomore in college, but I'll never forget him.

    Nothing had gone right that hot summer day in Indiana. I was selling dictionaries door-to-door, and by 11 that morning, I still hadn't sold a book, I'd gotten two people out of bed, and I'd just been bitten by a German shepherd. Not a good day!

    I dejectedly knocked on the door of a large frame house and was surprised to be greeted by a big smile and an invitation to enter. After Mrs. Johnson and I chatted for a minute or so, I began showing her the book. As I gave the presentation, she would say, "I'll bet Ricky would like that feature" or "Ricky was just asking me about that word."

    Soon she said, "Let's go see what Ricky thinks." I followed her back to a small room, where I saw a 13-year-old boy lying in bed. His legs were withered from polio. He looked through the dictionary and said, "Mom, I know this will help me with my school work." Then he asked me if I'd sold many books and where I went to college.

    We talked for a few minutes, and then with eyes that were sparkling and a smile I will never forget, he said, "You know, Mac, I've never met anyone I didn't like. I like my teachers and my classmates...They're so good to me. They even made me a special ramp to help me get up and down the steps." His last words as I left were, "Mac, someday I'm going to college just like you – I'll guarantee it."

    I drove away from Ricky's house with a lump in my throat, a tear in my eye, and a warm, wonderful feeling inside, and I went on to have my best sales day of the summer. It had taken a 13-year-old boy to make me quit feeling sorry for myself – and I've never forgotten his wonderful attitude about life.

    So often we worry about what we don't have and don't spend enough time being thankful for what we do have. Most of us are very blessed, but sometimes it takes a hero to remind us.

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