A Headline A Life A Reminder
I read this headline today, “College Student Fights Own Cancer.” Josh Sommer as reported by Associated Press News reporter Justin Pope has achieved two rare benchmarks in life. One not so good, he was diagnosed with a rare from of cancer, Chordoma with virtually no known cure. This is the equivalent of receiving a death sentence for crossing at the green. The other achievement is not only good but it borderlines greatness and is quite powerful. Josh acknowledges his condition. The young man is aware of it's reality. What he will not do is accept being an passive partner in his perceived fate
Acknowledgment is useless
By itself acceptance of reality is meaningless if you do not do anything with it. Josh once an aspiring environmental engineer is now a working student in progress of learning the science and biology of his disease. He stepped up past the recognition and acknowledgment to the level of “ what are my choices now.” His choice is to take up the role of active participant in the researching of his disease. This young undergrad's life is now dedicated in search for a cure for the “incurable” Chordoma type cancer. This man has also made another choice. Josh Sommers chose not to be egocentric about his mission. He has reached out to others as well a young boy nearby also afflicted with this one in a million form of cancer. By doing so, he furthers the importance what is now the passion of his life. With the clock ticking his moments in life are not only spent in giving to research but in the sharing of compassion.
Living with choices
Before fate threw him a curveball Josh Sommers was another college student with great dreams and aspirations. He was one of us in the crowd of life making his way through. More significantly, he chose opportunity over living his life out mired in illness and regret. We all have that choice. We all have that opportunity swimming in the sea of trouble. It is our choices that make the difference in our own lives. These choices we every day people choose from profoundly affect the lives of those who care about us and who we touch.
In being special
Is Josh Sommers a special person? Without a doubt. He should be acknowledged as such. In doing so, you and I should acknowledge we all have that quality in us. Whether or not we choose to reach within and apply it, is a choice. A choice Josh Sommers sees not as a choice but as an opportunity and reason. In the past year I have written about similar people like Randy Pausch the man known for his “The Last Lecture” speech (see links box below) also diagnosed with terminal cancer. I have chronicled the story of Patrick Henry Hughes and family working through his severe disabilities. With no eyes and lack of mobility not only plays the piano with the skill of a prodigy, also plays trumpet as part of his college marching band. (see links box below) Josh, Randy and Patrick all share a common bond. They all live life by employing some form of giving giving back through their own talents and personal positive mindsets. These men serve as inspiration in life.
In recent months
I have seen two lives go opposite directions, yet in the end the results were similar though not the same. They both had a choice to accept life as it became and explore the new possibilities. Neither one's daily living would be less than an ordeal. The curious outcome is the one with the greater opportunities before him gave in to a perceived fate. He couldn't see a chance at experiencing happiness before him. This one passed away listlessly refusing to take grasp of the ring of life. The other with significantly lesser opportunities fought through every day seizing every second to hold on to that ring. The latter outlived the former and to his last breath continued to fight for the next. This one held on to the ring until he no longer could. Moments before he passed he not only expressed happiness, he shared it.
Every day people
It may not be on the same level but as every day we all face many obstacles and paths that require the same type of inner confrontation. You and I must face the curveballs thrown over our own home plate of life. If for no other reason, it's our turn in the rotation to at bat. You stand there and either take a swing or take a ball. When you take a swing you take an active part in trying to get on base. Sure it could be a swing and miss. You might also hit the ball and get on base. This increases your chances of scoring a run. Of course the swing itself could result in a game winning home run. Yet if you don't swing all you are left standing there having to live with the call. In these moments we are all bound by the same virtue of the same life decree of “The choice is yours.”