From real life examples, we learn leadership values and we can receive inspiration.
Kristin Belcher is the author of the book “Hard Times and Holy Places”. She received a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Brigham Young University and served as a missionary for her church. She is married and has two sons. Nothing really impressive about this. However, there is more to her than this simple personal profile.
When she was seven months old, she was diagnosed with bi-lateral retinoblastoma which is a form of cancer that could be cured only through the removal of the eyes, or at least one of them. Her parents decided to heed to the counsel of a progressive eye specialist who suggested that, instead of intervening surgically, Kristin could be given radiation therapy. The treatment worked and the cancer was eradicated. However, about eight years later, she lost the sight in her left eye and left with only limited vision in her right eye. Growing up, Kristin experienced severe headaches and was prone to fainting. Doctors could not find a reason for these symptoms. In one particular occasion, her spinal fluid leaked out of her nose. Notwithstanding these difficulties, she was able to get married and have two children. As you can imagine, the pregnancies were very difficult and painful, but she succeeded. About 5 years ago she was again diagnosed with cancer of the optic nerves and had to undergo 5 surgeries in 5 months. The cancer was removed but she is now completely blind.
I am not sure if I would be able to suffer all this and still find a way to appreciate life. However, Kristin carved moments of personal strengthening that became what she refers to “holy places in my life”, places that enabled her to learn how to live in a world of darkness.
Reading her book, I was impressed by a simple and yet powerful statement she made: “Hard times are simply that – hard times. The best we can do is just hope to get through them…[However] Our struggles can be consecrated to our good and growth.” I believe the key word is ‘consecrated’. In other words, she is saying to her readers “don’t focus your energy on something you can’t change, but on something you could.” That is, for me, ourselves. If we change a small amount at a time to become better persons, others will notice and feel inspired. As I said last time, we don’t have to be the Mahatma Ghandi or JFK. We just need to be ourselves and give it the best shot.