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John Evans, Guest columnist, Orlando Sentinel.
The ancient Greeks said that life was like walking backward, with the present unfolding over the shoulders, and with a good view of the past. Who knows what the future brings?
So it was with John Michael Night, who one year ago today, was walking into a surprising future as he took his seat in class as a senior at Trinity Prep.
Noticing an irregularity in thought, the scholar/athlete soon found himself at the hospital, unable to move anything but his eyelids.
His struggle for the last year has been an inspiration to the community and the world. He's getting a little bit better every week, but the progress is slow at times, glacial at others. The band AC/DC made him a personalized video; none other than Pope Francis sent him a handwritten note. Florida State University head football coach, Jimbo Fisher, made an appearance to say hi. There's talk of even Donald Trump bringing him up for the inauguration on Jan. 20. The lad is loved. But still, are you kidding me? Is there a tougher diagnosis?
What's your grievance at present? Here's mine: My retina detached, and I had emergency surgery in the capable hands of Dr. Sam Houston at Florida Hospital the day before Thanksgiving.
The next day, while my family enjoyed turkey and the company, I lay in bed. I sulked a little bit. Two things lit a fire and got me through.
One, Houston actually called me personally on the holiday to see how I was doing. In an age of generally pathetic customer service, in any field you identify, this was a wow. The gesture of a phone call was a pure dose of positive energy that served to sustain my spirits. Furthermore, I couldn't stop talking about it. I hope the fine young doctor has a flourishing career.
Two, a retina detachment is a mosquito bite compared to what John Michael has endured. His inspiration took me to a whole new level of positivity and healing. We exchanged texts, and I am profoundly grateful for his encouragement. His grit is the antidote to the dastardly diagnosis; that elevates anyone paying attention.
So here's the takeaway for this holiday season. Be a Dr. Houston or a John Michael. Do something uncommonly meaningful to make an impact on someone in your community. What would our great city of Orlando be like if this were the case? Everyone delivering one more wow per week.
I think we would all be backing into something quite nice.