Left not the same.

This past month has introduced another  amazing individual into our lives. For me, this is the ‘heart equivalent’ of winning a huge jackpot – except  in this case the dividends  will be ever enlarging ones, and in no way dependent on the whims of economic climate.

Steve is a dentist from the USA and we met by ‘chance’ in a bookshop in Kowloon. Our conversation began with him asking me a question, and several hours later, after having migrated to the nearest Starbucks, we continued to be engaged in what has been another life altering meeting.

A  shared meal 2 days later…and several more hours of conversation, followed by a long chat over the phone after his return to the States. I feel I have known Steve longer – and deeper – than some people with whom mutual hellos and ‘how are yous’ have been exchanged for years!

Steve is a dentist, but his passion is helping the people of Mainland China – it oozes out of every pore of his soul. He has a ‘holy discontent’ to be continually pushed out of his ‘comfort areas’, and his realisation that our life here is short – and fragile – spurs him daily to be investing his time, skills and resources into what counts.

What counts! Not necessarily in the short term, but what is REALLY going to matter when we face our final moments on this mortal coil?

Steve is challenging me, even in the daily work I am doing as  a volunteer in Hong Kong, to push harder and more persistently against what is familiar and comfortable. As I recall what we have talked about, and as I anticipate the next conversation, I am marveling again at how these truly extraordinary people walk into our life – and from that moment begin to change it.

As Steve has shared stories of his work on the Mainland, new windows have opened in my mind and heart onto people and situations I knew nothing about. But Steve has not only  educated me – in fact, this is the least gift he left me with.

He has enlarged my heart’s view on certain truths and issues; he has, in such a brief acquaintance, bequeathed me a legacy. A legacy of a passion for a cause that is deep and real and beautiful, a passion that doesn’t waver and burn out when the first obstacle blows across the flame.

Steve’s passion and commitment is for the long haul – in fact, for life. It is a passion that truly ‘ENABLES’ him – enables him to leave his practise in the States, and all the comforts that lifestyle affords, and venture into territory that has no guarantees – only the promise that a difference will be made – to individuals and  communities in China – because he went.

I am learning that the truly ‘great’ people in this world don’t think they are. Their energies and passions are  focused on something other than themselves – and this is what shines out from their hearts and faces and conversations.

I am also  learning that these truly great individuals will most likely never be read about in a popular magazine, or be featured in a prime time news story.

But how incredibly amazing that every now and then, one of these true heroes is brought into our life, and a relationship is born that leaves us not the same as we were before.

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