This week in world news we are hearing of the remarkable story of the Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng's escape from house arrest to the presumed protection of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. I read with great interest an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, chronicling his brave work for the cause of human rights in China, his subsequent arrest and then eventual house arrest and his flight from this captivity to attempt to find freedom for himself and his family.
The story told of the help he received from his wife and his supporters who plotted out a very daring escape including Chen scaling a wall behind his house, hiding in the bushes there for a day and then his journey 300 miles, hiding in houses in a sort of underground railroad along the way to the safety of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. This sort of courage and devotion displayed not only by one man but by the many who helped him, renews my faith in mankind but also displays what man can overcome when he doesn't accept limitation. Did I mention that Mr. Chen is also blind?
Clearly this is a man who refuses to be imprisoned - either psychologically or physically. He has overcome so many barriers in his work to help others, not the least of which is his own physical impairment. He refused to accept the limits placed on him by his subversive government, by the soldiers who held him captive, or even by his own body.
It makes me wonder how many of us accept life's daily roadblocks, placing unnecessary limits on our own achievement. Whether we feel limited by our own physical challenges, by our career, our education, our race, our age or social status, it is generally we ourselves who consent to letting barriers and fears stand in the way of our own accomplishments.
One of my favorite authors, Mary Baker Eddy, wisely wrote, "Impossibilities never occur" and how true this is. It is certain that what we deem impossible, we will never dare to try. Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Chen.