Sometimes I get asked, as a Christian, why God lets bad things happen to us. I can’t pretend to know the will of God, but based on some experiences in my life, I know that good always happens – especially after bad.

As an example, I usually relate the story of how I gave up just about everything – including the core of my being – to be in a relationship with someone. It ended horribly, but that experience taught me through the heartache that I can’t give up who I am to be with someone. I have to stay true to myself in order to make anything work. As a result, I’ve been married to my wife for 8 years. We are about to have our 4th kid, and the last 10 years have been some of the greatest moments in my life. And I have to thank that bad relationship for giving me all this goodness.

For the last year, I’ve been performing stand up comedy. I’ve met lots of people. Two of them have really been inspirations – not only to me, but to others as well.

Born with it
I first saw John Dittmar (warning – language) at an open mic. When I saw him, I thought to myself that I didn’t want to give sympathy laughs. In my mind, I didn’t think this kid would be funny, and I didn’t want to patronize him by giving soulless laughs just because he had Cerebral Palsy. As it turned out, I didn’t need to. He was hilarious and probably the best comic of the night.

He turns 21 soon, and I’ve gotten to be friends with him over this last year. He does a lot despite having this… this… thing. This past summer he taught at a sort of Tech Camp. He helped a bunch of 5th graders learn about math and computers and stuff. That’s not something a typical 20 year old guy would do. He tells me about this and it’s usually about how horrible those kids were – but I could hear in his voice how much he really enjoyed it.

He doesn’t know it, but he’s been an inspiration to me. And if he’s been an inspiration to me, there’s no telling who else has been positively affected by interacting with John. He’s genuine, and he tries to help out whenever he can. He gives. He gives of himself and he gives what he can. Sometimes it’s just a self-deprecating joke. Other times it’s offering his time or knowledge on something. I always look forward to spending time with him.

If John didn’t have cerebral palsy, I may never have met him. He probably wouldn’t have gotten into comedy. But most importantly, he probably wouldn’t have been as much of an inspiration to others. I know he’s touched my life, and I can only imagine the countless others that have been inspired by John and he has no clue!

Life Changer
I believe it was October when I first met Bobby Henline (warning – language). I didn’t know his story, but I definitely knew he wasn’t born a burn victim. Later on I found out that he was serving in Iraq when his Humvee hit an IED.

Over the last four years, Bobby’s life has been drastically changed (to say the least). Rather than wallowing in pity and grieving over what had happened (like I think I would do), he turned the tragedy into comedy. And that has been an inspiration to just about everyone who has met Bobby.  I know that he has inspired me to make the most of what I have.

Yes, Bobby’s last tour in Iraq really was a horrible thing, but there’s no way to measure how much good Bobby has been able to spread around the world. He regularly visits wounded soldiers, and recently did a comedy show called “Humor for Heroes” where the majority of the crowd were veterans.

Bobby could very well have let this turn him into a bitter, hateful man, but he chose to go a different route, and I know I’m better for having met the man.

If you get the chance to meet either of these guys, or would like to see their comedy – you should. I know Bobby is a regular at LOL in San Antonio, and John is doing what he can to perform while going to Texas State.

Life would definitely be better for both of them if things had turned out “normal,” but thanks to these events, I have come to know a couple of great guys. And I also know that these two guys have been able to inspire those around them. It would be easy to question God’s motives for both of these men’s lives, but in the end I feel the sacrifices made were worth what we’ve gained.

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