by Joanna Moorhead
‘Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?’ When you tell someone you’re a journalist, that’s the most common response: not surprising, perhaps, in a world that seems increasingly obsessed with celebrity, fame and privilege. And the truth is that I have met quite a lot of famous people.
‘For all these people, life changed irrevocably in the space of a few seconds’
But the most memorable people, and the ones I’m most honoured to have met, are people like Jessica Cox, who was born without arms but who realised that she could still do everything she wanted to do in her life, and then some. She’s now a pilot: she tours the world talking about her life choices, and about how the only thing that really limits us is ourselves. And people like Joseph Luzzi, a university professor whose wife went out shopping one day and never returned: she was killed in a car crash, but the baby she was carrying survived. Joe went to work that morning as a husband and father-to-be: by lunchtime, he was a widower and a father. For a while, his life looked bleak: he was, he says now, in the middle of Dante’s dark wood. But he held on, and he came through.
Then there’s Margaret Mizen, whose teenage boy Jimmy was killed in a senseless neighbourhood murder; and priest Fr Michael Lapsley, who campaigned against apartheid but never expected to lose his hands in a letter bomb because of it.
‘We can all survive more than we realise’
For all these people, life changed irrevocably in the space of a few seconds. It’s a testimony to the power of the human spirit that they not only came through, not only rebuilt their lives, but along the way found so much to share with the rest of us – and they don’t share it from a place of ‘bravery’ or ‘specialness’, they share it from a place that says: learn from us, because we are all human, and we can all survive more than we realise. Inspired is a collection of the stories of Jessica, Joseph, Margaret and Michael, and others like them: I hope you’ll be moved, and changed, by reading them.
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