I met an amazing person this weekend.
A little boy named Connor. Connor is the most amazingly sweet, polite, fun loving child you could ever want to meet. Connor has cystic fibrosis.
I had never met a child with a chronic illness before. I'm not sure why or how I hadn't before. I had, of course, heard stories of their bravery.
As I watched him run around the yard laughing, that bravery was on full display before me.
He was devoid of self pity, simply enjoying the moment and the camaraderie of his peers. He asked for no special treatment. He just wanted to play. And though he used no words to express it, he silently asked that you treat him as you would any other child.
We were all immediately charmed.
He said 'please and 'thank you' as if they were his first words. He did not push, rough house or bully. He followed the lead of the older kids, but was not intimidated by them. He was under 35 inches tall, but carried himself with the confidence of an action star (without the ego). He chased the girls. In a few years they would be chasing him.
He had more strength and joy in his little finger than most people possess in their entire bodies (including myself). In that moment, I admired him more than any adult I have ever met.
I began to think of all of my petty complaints, my minor grumblings, and my selfish wishes. I felt ashamed of wanting more, when I have been blessed with so much.
This weekend I joined the ranks of so many others. Those that love an innocent child who suffers, yet refuses to be beaten.
I'll always be grateful to Connor. Grateful for a gift he may never know he gave me. In the space of an hour he made me a better person. A person who once again counts his blessings. A person who once again recognizes what REAL strength is. A person who once again is truly grateful for all that I have.
Thank you Connor.