Approaching Thanksgiving I reflect back on the speech I gave to my high school on Gratitude that ignited my passion to speak to others and inspire.
We are reminded of the importance of being grateful and of not forgetting to express gratitude. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it is natural to remember to be grateful…… the challenge is to be grateful throughout the rest of the year.
In my everyday life I see things that I am very grateful for; my family, my friends and the people that I see working to better themselves and others. on campus, the teachers, administrators and students all help me to realize my dream of being here with you at De La Salle. I am Especially grateful for my family who have been there to support me through everything I have been through.
Being grateful is not always easy. There are many times you may find yourself searching for things to be grateful for, but this does not mean they are not there. For those of you that don’t know, I have physical disabilities that don’t allow me to feel my hands and feet, as you can tell, my breathing is much more noticeable than the average person, and I struggle to keep weight on. I have always been in love with sports ever since I was a little kid. Because of these physical limitations, I have now come to the realization that I am not going to be playing for the 49ers any time soon, nor will I be able to line up next to my fellow Spartans on the football field or the basketball court. Even though I would love to be out there helping my brothers win every game, I am still grateful that I can be a part of this school and I can still have great friendships with the guys who are on the teams. This to me is still just as good as being out there with them, and I am grateful for every moment I am able to spend here with all of you.
I have experienced some particularly difficult circumstances in life, but I am still able to be grateful to God and have been able to accomplish many of my goals. A person in my situation may find it easy to stray from the belief in God, but I have found that my belief in God has become stronger through my experiences in these shoes. I know that God has a plan, and everything happens for a reason. I am grateful to god for giving me the things I need to overcome my physical disabilities, a loving family, strong friendships, and a sense of self confidence. One of my major accomplishments in life was getting into De La Salle. Coming in I knew this would be a struggle, both mentally and physically. I feared that it would be tough getting around this school, and being able to keep up with all of the other kids in classes. I was afraid that kids would tease me or I wouldn’t be accepted because of my disabilities, but everyone has looked past that and has made me feel very welcome and like I truly belong. I am grateful for this; because coming into this school with all of these complications, I was able to succeed. I made good friends that were able to help when things got tough for me physically. An example of this is whenever the elevator went out, Dylan Wynn, a friend of mine who graduated last year, used to carry me up and down the steps each period. Here was the star player for one of the top football teams in the country taking time out of his day to make sure I got to class on time. He showed me that it didn’t matter how different we were, he was willing to help me be a “normal kid”.
We are coming up to Advent, and this is generally a time of waiting. I have had a lot of waiting in my life too, in fact, my whole life is kind of waiting…. Waiting to see what struggles will present themselves each day. Will I be able to face these struggles and overcome them? Waiting to see if my disability will get better or worse day to day. Waiting to see if the risks that I have taken to be normal have paid off. Waiting to see if I am going to get into the college that I want.
Waiting is not an easy thing to do, but if you do wait, then your reward will be that much better. Good things in life are worth waiting for. In times of waiting I have learned not to be down on myself and to be grateful everyday for the gifts that God has given me. If you reflect on your life, you have been given many gifts too……… You may not see them every day,…. but trust me,…. they are there, because other people see them in you.