By Trent Rentsch
I have always been intrigued by the imagery of a light bulb glowing over the head of a person at the moment of inspiration. It does indeed seem that, in that moment, the entire world seems brighter, clearer... even the darkest corners are, if only for a second, illuminated. But somehow, it doesn’t always do the moment justice. Sometimes, the moment of inspiration is so powerful that the light is blinding; more the blazing glow of the sun, burning away the darkness in places you didn’t know existed. And even after the inferno, as your vision slowly clears and the embers smolder, you realize that your world has changed, and that you’ll never see things the same again. As you’ve probably guessed, I experienced one of these moments not long ago, and what I’ve come away with is worth sharing with all my favorite Creatives (YOU)!
The missus was about to go to the Children’s Miracle Network convention in Orlando. Her station does a yearly radio-thon for Duke Children’s Hospital, and her amazing montages are a powerful fund raising tool. They rewarded her efforts by sending her to the convention -- to meet others, exchange ideas, and come away with fresh ideas for next year’s event. As I still have, ahh, “time on my hands,” I decided to join her. We both love to travel, and it was a chance to do some job hunting in one of our favorite cities. While I didn’t come away with an offer for my dream job, I left with something that will forever change my life.
My wife would return to our room, all excited about the things she was learning at the convention. I would nod and smile, listening... but, as it turns out, not really hearing. All of that changed during a bus ride to lunch. During one of her breaks, we decided to go to the Polynesian Resortand one of our favorite Disney restaurants to grab a bite. A mother and son hopped on the bus with us and sat down across the aisle. The boy looked over at us, smiled, and happily shouted, “HI!” I remember thinking, “What a friendly kid for that age,” which I found out later is 12. That’s when my wife leaned over and whispered excitedly in my ear, “THAT’S Connor!”
Connor... oh, I had heard about Connor. He was one of the children who came to the convention, a true Miracle Child from Australia. He is, quite literally, a one in a million. Spina Bifida and Crohn’s are but two of his issues. He has something called “VACTERL syndrome,” which has affected every system in his body. He has had over 40 major operations to stay alive, and is on a strict regime of medicines and multiple daily medical procedures to keep his body functioning. He has 3 “ports” in his stomach... one for nutrition, one to flush his kidneys, one to eliminate his bowels. To say that he is lucky to be alive is a serious understatement. But that’s not the truly amazing part of Connor’s story.
Connor is the most upbeat, positive, giving, friendly Creative soul I have ever met. He is an artist, designing the most inspiring t-shirt designs. He is also a musician, writing his own songs and producing 2 CD’s (so far), which included collaborations with many big names in Australian music. He donates the proceeds of these CD’s to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where he has spent a great deal of his life.
Possibly the most amazing thing is, when you first meet Connor, you would never imagine for a second that he has any health issues! His smile is infectious, his zest for life overwhelming. Check out the story the 60 Minutes in Australia did on Connor at http://connormaclean.com/movies/ Then, take a moment and check out the rest of his site. Now, take whatever image you have of him, multiply it by a thousand, and you’ll have some idea of what it’s like to meet him face to face.
My wife had a portable recorder with her, and asked Connor if he would do some greetings for her next radiothon, and he jumped at the chance. Honestly, the only indication that I had that he wasn’t feeling well came when he stumbled over some words and apologized, saying, “I’m sorry... the medications muddle me up sometimes.” He was, however, determined to get it right, and nailed it after another take with the ease many Pros I know don’t have. We then hugged our goodbyes, and Connor walked away, arm in arm with his Mother... not to “deal with his next medical procedure,” but towards his next adventure.
Maybe times are tough. Maybe you’ve lost your job, or have been forced to take a pay cut. Maybe you’ve never really had the Creative gig you dream of, maybe your dreams see you anywhere but where you are. Maybe... maybe... maybe. You know what? Maybe it’s time to take a clue from my Hero Connor, and begin shining like the sun. What could possibly be holding you back, really?