Perfect Circles - Fusion Magazine, March 2010

Recently, I read an inspiring book called Perfect Circles, Redefining Perfection by John Michael Stuart. Stuart was born with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological condition that has impacted his coordination. In his book, he challenges all of us to view our adversities as opportunities for growth and personal development instead of defeat. His life stories become our stories, as we discover the healing power of perspective and as we deal with what appears to be standing in our way. His story reaffirmed what I long thought: That if you live your life with honor and truth, you can achieve anything. Here is an excerpt from Perfect Circles.

Get Up Off the Floor

In 1977, a law was passed that would allow those with disabilities to attend the same schools as those without disabilities — or at least the noticeable disabilities. After all, we all have disabilities of one kind or another. Neither I nor my friends had any concept of what it would be like to attend a "different" school. Even though there were many changes, one thing would remain the same. We would still be riding the short bus that only carried the disabled kids. We had been riding this small bus for years and thought nothing of it. Like a limousine, we had door-to-door service. What may have seemed like a perk in having a disability now became another emotional hurdle.

As the short bus pulled onto the school campus, there would be hundreds of students racing around before the first bell rang. There were no wheelchairs or canes and everybody seemed to be walking unassisted. Some people would have to clear the way to make room for the small bus to drop us off. One select group of kids would always be waiting to pound on the bus, yelling, "cripples, retards." I remember looking out the bus window and seeing all the kids who had (what I thought at the time) what I didn't — a normal body. I wished so much that I could be transformed into one of them. At the time, I think I would have traded places with anybody: The geek, the football player, the guy with the purple Mohawk — just to be able to fit in. I would have been virtually anybody — except who I was!

The emotional pain got so severe that, as the bus pulled onto campus, I would get on the floor so as not to be seen. Bill, the bus driver, was understanding and would wait until most of the kids went inside before making me exit the bus. This avoidance behavior seemed to only mask the problem. The real pain remained my shame of being different.

One morning, when I was crouched on the floor of the bus, Bill provided me encouragement that would help me begin to change how I would see myself and others. He stopped the bus, turned around, looked straight down at me and said, "John, you're just as good, or maybe even better, than any of those kids out there! Stand up! Be confident and make some friends! And remember, not everyone is going to like you. That's just life."

These challenging remarks of encouragement triggered the insight or "Majestic Moment" that would plant a seed to a more expansive view of who I really was. This made it possible for me to start down my path of self-acceptance.

The bus driver's encouragement didn't act like a magic wand, making me into the most emotionally secure human being on planet Earth — instantly popular and self-confident. But it did trigger the moment, when insight came, that I needed to get up off the floor of that bus and start to accept my life and its challenges.

The words "that's just life" remain echoing through the forefront of my mind, not as a cue to just roll over and take what life dishes out, but to accept what is and then find a way to move beyond. It was at that moment I absolutely knew it was up to me to decide whether or not to take action on this insight that had the potential to change my entire outlook on life. My self-esteem gradually grew as I took the action that would start my journey out of self-pity. A week or two later, I let others see me get off that short bus — disability and all.

Each day, I had to resist the temptation to get back on the bus floor by keeping the bus driver's words of encouragement running through my mind. I had to stand up for myself! No matter how emotionally painful, it was my only alternative. Eventually, I realized there were only a couple of inconsiderate kids who were calling me names. It dawned on me that the rest of the student body might possibly be willing to accept me as a friend — if only I would give "them" a chance. Little did I know that, at that stage in my life, I needed to accept myself before I could be accepted by others.

 


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On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.