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Column: GET HIGH ON LIFE

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / February 18, 1998

“Lefty” gets it right in getting a vision

Years ago, when Helen Keller (no relation), who was blind and accomplished so much in her lifetime, was presented a prestigious award for her contributions to mankind, the person presenting the award said, “What a tragedy to have gone through life not being able to see!” To this, Helen Keller responded, “That wasn’t too bad. I feel sorry for the peoplewho can see, but don’t have a vision.”Two weeks ago, as I was speaking to approximately 65 men, I noticed on young man sitting in the back, all alone. It was obvious that he was anIndian. His long, black, straight hair was below his shoulders. His faceshowed that he had been hurt most of his life.

Of all the men in attendance, I picked him out to acknowledge. “You mustthink you’re in church,” I said, jokingly. “You’re in the last row.”Everybody laughed but him. “What’s your name?” I asked. “Lefty,” heanswered. “Come up here,” I said. He stood up, and when he did I noticedthat he had no left arm.

I again asked him his name as he approached the front. “Lefty,” herepeated. “That’s not your real name,” I said. “What’s your real name?””Darryl,” he answered. “Are you an Indian?” I asked. “Full-blooded,” hesaid with pride.

“How did you lose your arm?” I questioned. That bothered him. “Why doeseverybody want to know how I lost my arm?” he asked. “I’m not concernedabout everybody else. Some people are curious and don’t ask. I’m curiousand I’d like to know,” I said. “I was in a motorcycle accident at the age of7,” he said.

As he was standing in front of the group, with me at his side, I said, “Lefty, let me tell you what God is going to do for you. He’s going to usewhat you consider a weakness as your strongest asset. You see, son, one ofthese days, even though you’re shy now and feel inadequate, you will speak in front of large crowds and tell them how God has set you free of drugs.

Darryl, people like me have to work hard at getting the attention of a crowd. You, on the other hand, will get instant attention because of theabsence of your left arm.” He smiled and sat down.When I left that night, I hoped I hadn’t crushed his already bruised spirit.

Last week, when I returned, he greeted me with a big smile and a hug. Ithen knew that everything was all right between Darryl and me.

After the meeting, I was sitting in a chair talking to another man, and Darryl sat in front of me on the floor, like an innocent child. “How are youdoing, Lefty?” I asked. “Great!” he answered. “You really love me, don’tyou, son?” I questioned. “Yes, sir,” he replied. “Why?” I asked. Heanswered, “Because you gave me hope and a reason to live.”Wouldn’t this world be better if we encouraged each other a little more? I really believe, without a doubt, that God used me to motivate Darryl to have a vision.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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