There is a man who walks around town pulling a cart with coolers on it. He mostly sells fresh made tortillas and tamales. He is always laughing and smiling and seems to know most everyone in town as he chats with people, and they call out to him, “Yo Richie!” as he goes by. Even in the intense heat of summer, he is always out, and always laughing and smiling. Sometimes, all I see is his cart in the street, so I know he is somewhere nearby cooling down in some shade with something to drink. Every time I see him, it makes me smile. He is such a happy person that he seems to infect everyone around him with joy.
And the most amazing thing… Richie is blind.
A blind man sells food and knows how much money people have given him and how much change he gives back. He knows who is calling out to him just by the sound of their voice. And he is always happy, never down or distrustful because he is blind selling things out of a cooler he pulls along even in intense heat.
People like Richie are my greatest teachers. Although I certainly value wisdom and insights from anyone, it is people who have gone through challenges and come out the other side with something beautiful to offer; these are the people who humble me and touch my soul.
Instead of being taken down by his challenges, Richie has lifted himself to a place higher than many people around who have so much less to overcome. He reminds us that the greatest obstacles in life are very rarely the external ones, but rather the greatest obstacle is how we choose to respond to what life sends us. It is our thoughts and spirit that either sets us up to be stopped by the obstacle or to grow from the experience and rise above and transform. In rising above his perceived limitations, Richie lifts up everyone around him.
I do not know how to actually spell Richie’s name, but I chose this spelling on purpose because truly RICHie is one of the richest people I have ever met. He is so rich in spirit, heart, and mind that everyone around him benefits from the true wealth of his being. He blesses everyone he comes in contact with, and even people like me who often just see him from afar and feel happy instantly.
May I strive to be like Richie, turning my obstacles into blessings for all.