A middle-aged, physically fit man sat on a laptop at a nearby table outside the Starbucks I frequently use as my office. I smiled to him as he gathered his things to move to a table that offered shade from the beaming sun- “I shouldn’t really be in the sun, anyways.” he said to me.
It was then I noticed the bruises and scrapes along his cheekbone and framing his eyes. Immediately, he picked up on my concern, pointing to the wounds, explaining that his profession as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter with a rather impressive boxing background.
I believe that there is something to be learned from every person that crosses my path, so I perked up my ears and searched for the golden nugget.
He explained he had just won a fight and rattled off win-loss statistics from his career as a fighter- already, he had gained my respect and awe. Though I was clearly impressed, it wasn’t the fights in the ring that packed the heftiest punch- not by a long shot; matter-of-factly, Howie “the Champion” went on to recount a battle he had won two years ago with stomach cancer.
He went on to say he was on his way out of the fighting game, asking me to guess how old he was.
“I hate this game,” I replied.
“44,” he said, slightly defeated.
I shook my head as he identified himself as “old,” knowing just by his energy that he was far from finished with his life’s work.
Having already handed him my business card after explaining what I do for a living, he took notice that I practiced holistic health care, going on to say that it was a holistic-medicine-touting doctor (that charged a miniscule fraction of the cost of the NY highly-esteemed oncologist) out in California that he credited his life to.
BAM! Golden nugget.
At that moment I felt endlessly validated for my choice to opt for holistic health care in my hopes to heal all of life’s wounds.
Costing him parts of his internal organs, he refused to let cancer collect his life. He exuded pure gratitude towards his decision to go the holistic route in his recovery, easing the hesitations of my holistic-healing life-path decision, as well.
Before me, sat a true fighter, both in the worlds of MMA/boxing and in life. From his win, he wore the bruises and cuts with pride, but it was the light of life he exuded that spoke loudest.