“My passenger had a gun to my head. He told me to get out of the car and climb in the trunk.”
“I pleaded with him. ‘You took my money. You took my stuff. You can take my car. Please just don’t take my life. Let me go home to my family.’ “
This was my Uber driver the other night, telling me a story as we sat in gridlock on the LA freeways.
This Uber driver had recently became an inspirational speaker, preaching the power of a goal-driven life to Latin-American families.
Why? Because he had a very sudden and dramatic awakening that night when he was held hostage by a crazed passenger in the back of his taxi.
The Uber driver continued telling me the story, “The passenger demanded that I climb into the trunk. He pointed his gun at me. I made my peace with God. I said ‘God if you say it’s my time, please take me. I’m ready.’
“I was waiting to hear the gunshots and I was sure my life was over.”
“But the passenger closed the trunk, trapped me in there and kept driving. 30 or so minutes later, he pulled the taxi over. He let me go.”
“I got to live and I knew I had to do something different, more meaningful with my life!”
This Uber driver now shares the message of love with as many people as possible.
He is a healer to his community. The more people he talks to, the more suicides he prevents, the more addicts he turns toward rehab, the more downtrodden passengers he uplifts with his story.
His name was Ascension. Of course.
What a story! I could practically feel the gun on my head.
If that happened to you…if you were held a gunpoint, certain you were going to die…and you were allowed to live…how would that change you?
What has to happen to awaken you and I to the meaning of our lives?
Do we really need a gun to our head to get into Alignment with our deep, driving passion?
That night, I was on the way home from a dinner in downtown LA honoring recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
My stepdad was in the miliary and he invited me along with a 92 year-old WWII veteran to attend this dinner.
There are only 75 people alive today who have received the Medal of Honor, presented by the President of the United States, for those who have displayed impossible courage.
A recent recipient of the Medal of Honor was Kyle Carpenter, who as a 21 year old in Afghanistan in November 2010, jumped on top of a grenade to shield his fellow Marine.
That means certain death.
And Kyle Carpenter almost died. He flatlined 3 times, but somehow survived.
He lost his right eye, most of his teeth, his jaw and right arm were shattered, the list goes on. He was in Walter Reed Medical Center for 3 years.
In 2014, President Obama awarded Corporal Kyle Carpenter the Medal of Honor and read a statement that Carpenter prepared:
“It took a life-changing event to get me to truly appreciate the precious and amazing life I have been blessed with. Please take it from me, enjoy every day to the fullest, don’t take life too seriously, always try to make it count, appreciate the small and simple things, be kind and help others, let the ones you love always know you love them, and when things get hard trust there is a bigger plan and that you will be stronger for it.”
Now look, I don’t usually write about having a gun to your head and military acts of courage. It’s not my schtick. But that night it was.
I had to leave the dinner honoring the Medal of Honor winners because my 2 year old was staying at my mom’s and she couldn’t find his blankie he needs to sleep.
To miss the opportunity to speak with all these heroes in one room, because my son didn’t have his blankie?!
But of course, I had to leave early so I could spend an hour in the classroom of Profesor ASCENSION.
Sometimes the story of love and meaning and purpose is best served with guns and explosions and a few f-bombs to wake us the FUCK up.
Stop wasting time worrying about stupid shit. That goes for me too.
Your life is an honor!
You know MLK’s quote, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…”
Everyone is depending on YOU to live up to your potential.
That doesn’t have to mean becoming a vegetarian and moving to a yurt in Spokane.
It just means, on a moment to moment basis…
Look at people. Listen to people.
Have a conversation with one new person everyday, even if it’s just for 5 seconds.
Give humanity more emphasis than technology. That’s trickier than it sounds.
Live for your hope and vision instead of against your worry and fear.
Just talking about the things that excite you will open new doors.
Offer your very best…not on rare occasion…but everyday.
Listen carefully to the next person who speaks to you.
Seek someone to help, instead of stumbling over them.
Tend to the world, instead of take from it.
The moment we see our life as an honor instead of a grind, the page turns and an opening appears. Or so I am learning.