There are a few people you meet in life who are inspirational beyond words. They stare obstacles square in the eye, and don’t fixate on and bemoan the hardship. With courage and determination they venture forth and meet life head on with gratitude for everything – even the life-changing illness that has turned life upside down. I mulled this over during the weekend as I joined a beautiful group of people to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of Josh who awoke one morning with a stiff neck, and within 48 hours he was lying on a gurney in intensive care, paralysed from the neck down.
When I first met Josh (a year or so before his illness took hold), I was spellbound by him. He has a perennially positive and gentle nature, along with a smile that lights up a room when he walks into it. It’s just the way he is. Josh is confident and comfortable within his own skin. He focusses on the blessings in his life, and he has faith – strong faith. Josh believes things happen for a reason and there is a bigger plan falling into place. For the past two years, he has remained living in the moment, literally focussing on taking one step at a time.
Josh has shown me the true potency of the gratitude and the Universal Law of Attraction. He has taught me the power an attitude of grace wields. Josh has shown me you don’t need to control the direction of your life with white knuckles. You can just go with it and explore all of the possibilities that arrive at your doorstep.
God Has A Plan
Josh knew he was going to be of service to humankind. He just didn’t know what he was going to be doing, or how he was going to be doing it. No doubt there have been times he has been emotionally shaky, and scared witless. However, for the most part the smile has remained steadfast on his gorgeous face. His eyes sparkle with the new possibilities that lay just around the corner. Just two short years after being diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis and becoming accustomed to a wheelchair, Josh works for the New Zealand Spinal Trust as a Family and Peer Network Coordinator, providing motivation, comfort and inspiration to other spinal injury patients. He is shining his light for others to follow.
On Saturday night, the room swelled with pride and joy as Josh got up out of his wheelchair and stood tall for photos and for many of the speeches. The love in the room was palpable. My heart swelled as I stood there listening to the speeches made by his loved ones. My misty eyes made it very difficult to focus down the lens of my camera.
Anne McCormack’s first book, Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind is dedicated to Josh Caldwell and her sister, Janine. It is a hug in a book and a holiday from your head.