I always had this dream of playing major league baseball and having the crowd cheer for me as get up to bat. That dream was shattered my first week in the minor leagues after I was in a car accident that caused my right leg to be amputated. I was completely crushed because I saw my dream slip away right in front of me.
The entire rehab I was angry and didn’t care to talk about anything related to sports or that related to any type of happy thoughts. One day I was sitting there in the rehab area taking a break and this little boy comes in there that was missing both legs but the only thing I noticed about him was the large smile he had on his face. For some reason I could not stop staring at him and his smile was so contagious that I had to at least nod at him while smiling back.
A few minutes went by and he rolled over to me in his wheelchair and said:
Boy: “Why are you so sad?”
Me: “How did you know that I was sad when you don’t even know me?”
Boy: “Your eyes told me a story.”
Me: “Okay, how old are you kid?”
Boy: “I’m 9, but I know I look like I’m 7.”
Me: I started to laugh saying, “Who are you, seriously kid?”
Boy: “Well, I’m Jacob and I have no legs.”
I just sat there in awe of this kid who is only 9 that can joke about his current situation and be okay with it. He started asking me questions about why I was there and how I lost my leg (and about 24 other questions along with it). I told him about my dream to play baseball and how it just crushed me. He listened and just stared at me with his big blue eyes and then says:
“Sometimes things happen and we don’t know why but it doesn’t mean that we are broken.”
I just sat there and stared at him as if he just summed up everything I needed to know and hear in one simple sentence. He rolled away and said, “I’ve got to go now but I hope you feel better.” All I could do was smile and wave at him. The next few weeks I started thinking about things that I loved to do besides baseball and the one thing that always came to mind was landscaping. I decided to take some certification courses in that area and work with a local company to gain experience while also learning how a business works.
About a year later I went back to the rehab facility to ask about the little boy Jacob and they knew him very well but they said that he had passed away just a few weeks ago from cancer. I realized that I was so focused on telling him about what I was dealing with that I never even asked why he was in there. I asked the people in there if they knew any details about the burial or where he was laid to rest. They were hesitant at first but after I told them the story they shared the information. I went to the cemetery were Jacob was and he was right under this beautiful tree that provided the perfect setting of pure calmness. I just sat there and watched the sunset thinking about the time I met Jacob. As I was leaving, I left a note with him that said this:
I don’t know if I will ever know the reason that I met you that day but I am forever grateful to you for just listening to me. The one sentence that you said to me completely changed my life and woke me up. I know that you were only 9 but you were way beyond your years compared to most that I know. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you just how thankful I am for that one conversation that we had together. I also want you to know that you are not broken. I’ll see you again one day kid.”
I’m in the final stages of starting my own business and it took me going through a rough patch to realize what I was suppose to do with my life. We all have dreams but you also have to realize that sometimes life plans don’t always go as “planned.” There are still days I would love to walk out onto that baseball field but that wasn’t my path and I’m okay with that. I wanted to share this part of my story of how I got to where I am now to let all of you know that are reading this that, it’s okay if plans change. Embrace it, even if you get wisdom from a 9 year old that looks like he’s 7.
I Am A Mom and Pop.
- Nathan C.