I recently met a young man named Adrian Garrett who has a college degree and has taught special education and is now teaching at a technology. He directs a gospel choir, teaches Sunday school and occasionally preaches. All of these are incredible accomplishments considering the fact that this young black man began life in an institute for the profoundly mentally and physically handicapped because of an array of birth defects that rendered his legs into abbreviated stumps. Today as an adult he stands 3’ 4’’ tall.
Adrian tells me that the doctors don’t really have a name for the conglomeration of 13 problems he was born with – a fairly normally proportioned torso, arms, head and neck and then his unusual legs, missing major bones and working parts. He only has one kidney and was born with a cleft palate that made it hard for him to feed as an infant and later hard to speak when he was a toddler. And so Adrian existed for 2 years in a steel crib in a room with other children with profound physical and mental handicaps in a world of extremely limited possibilities.
Then God started putting people in Adrian’s path. It began with a substitute teacher named Anne Stanhope who realized that Adrian was a bright child when he did a puzzle. Later, encouraged by his progress, Adrian’s mother took him home to lead a more normal life. After that God sent a procession of people put into Adrian’s path – teachers, doctors, Sunday school teachers, relatives, choir directors, college professors, the school superintendent who took a chance on hiring Adrian for his first teaching job.
That afternoon when I met Adrian things had come back full circle to the original person in Adrian’s path, Anne Stanhope, who invited me over to meet Adrian when he was visiting from New Jersey for a few short hours in our area of Georgia. I carved out a short time in my busy schedule to sit on Anne’s screened back porch. I asked Adrian, “What do you tell people about your life?”
Without a moment’s hesitation he replied, “God has been good. He has put people in my path for a reason. I have been blessed.”
As I drove home, I realized that God had introduced Adrian into my overscheduled path that day for a very good reason. I’m in charge of two very big projects that are way too big for me to handle. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to let a valuable resource in God’s kingdom go to waste: the people in my path. That’s because I’m something of a loner. I hate to ask people to help me do things. It’s easier to do it myself, even if it wears me out and leaves me with a “poor me” attitude. Adrian opened my eyes to the possibility that the “people in my path” might be there for a reason. God might have even placed them there. Me, accept help? With a little wisdom from an incredible young man named Adrian, I’m going to try.