There is only one success—to be able to spend your life in your own way. -Christopher Morley
Today was an extraordinary day. It all started at the iconic Gateway Arch in downtown St Louis and ended with the start of an epic 850-mile journey to Denver in The Kindness Cab. The extraordinary parts of the day were the happenings in between. Especially what happened at De La Salle Middle School.
I was invited by a teacher to talk to some of the kids. De La Salle is a special place. The school is geared towards helping severely underprivileged children. De La Salle gives them hope where there was none.
As I was giving my speech I focused on the two main areas that have shaped my life: The importance of self-belief and finding the courage to live fully.
I recounted the story of working behind a slab of wood (my desk…) and how I felt trapped in a world created for me by others. I recounted how through the help of goodhearted people (angels) and the inspiration of a few, I found my way out of the emotional bleakness.
I recounted how we could all find freedom. Inner freedom.
I wanted the kids to see that anything was possible in their lives. Anything. I wanted the kids to see that they were the gatekeepers of their own dreams. I wanted the kids to see.
As I finished, the questions began.
One of them hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. A young girl, no older than 12, asked me; Are you free? These three words struck right into the center of my soul. The last ten years of my life came together in that moment. As I stood in that room, with The Kindness Cab outside, and hungry souls eager to learn inside, I realized, irrevocably, that I was free.
I was free to be whom I had always dreamt of being. I was free to be myself. I was free to live my dreams. My slab of wood was no more.
Wisdom comes in all shapes and sizes. On this day wisdom came from a young girl at De La Salle Middle School in St Louis. Maybe we should all ask ourselves that simple question.
Are you free? I wonder.