Facebook Memories is a great feature. I am constantly reminded of the many wonderful people I have met and posted about, through Uber and Lyft. Yesterday, that reminder was about a man I met 2 years ago, named Winston.
In 2005, Winston Norton suffered a burst aneurysm of the brain. He was taken to the hospital but was expected to die within 24 hours. The aneurysm caused a severe stroke. When the doctors went in to try and fix the aneurysm, they found over 40 more.
The chance Winston would live was becoming smaller and smaller. In fact, he coded (heart stopped) more than once.
Winston had lost much of his body function and control. He couldn’t move half his body. He spent 9 months at Baylor University Medical Center. 9 months!
Winston is a man of faith and determination. You can see the trauma he suffered in his walk, but you couldn’t tell from his outlook on life. He lives to serve now, thanking God for every precious, beautiful day.
He knows God still has a purpose for him so he works everyday to fulfill that purpose. His recovery/survival is nothing short of a miracle.
He believes it is important to tell his story. He and I both agreed we didn’t cross paths by chance.
Winston, rise again my friend, and keep inspiring people through your story and your dedicaton to spreading kindness and love.
Winston’s story got me thinking about the mythical bird, Phoenix. Like the Phoenix, Winston rose from the ashes. That led me to a Dan Fogelberg song of the same name that I listened to often, in my youth. When I listened to it again today, I found a particularly powerful line from this excerpt, “Like a Phoenix,
I have risen from the flames
Like a Phoenix,
I have risen from the flames
No more living
Someone else’s dreams.”
Someone else’s dreams…
In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz describes our lives as dreams. “What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake.”
We make many agreements with life, with God, with ourselves. In doing so, we submit to the dreams, or the influence of others, in the way we think, we perceive, we act. We live someone else’s dreams. The Four Agreements teaches us how to break old agreements and make four agreements with ourselves to create our own dream, free of influence from others. In doing so, we are filled with love and peace.
Our lives are like the life of the Phoenix. There are periods, even days when we die and are reborn. As Christians, we attach this life experience to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each day is a renewal. Each day is an opportunity to become a better person, to give and receive love, to enjoy God’s creation and grace. Each day we rise like the Phoenix.
So RISE! Get up, get out, and feel God’s love. Share that love, so that others may find their way out of the dark, out of someone else’s dream.
Thanks for the book recommendation Mindy Lee Carlson.
Happy Easter, my friends. He is risen! Be safe in this extraordinary moment in time. Be love. Be kind.