Life is rarely what we expect it to be, and it is rarely fair. There are no exceptions to this rule. The only exceptions are the exceptional people who don’t allow the unexpected and the injustices to hold them down. David Garcia is one of these exceptional people.

David began his life with no advantages. He was born into an impoverished family in a country that did not offer social programs to those most in need. David was truly going to need to build his life from the bottom up. However, to say that he was born with no advantages is not quite the truth. He was born to parents of amazing strength, resilience, wisdom, and faith.

Although neither of David’s parents finished high school, they were resourceful when it came to making a living. His mother prepared food to sell and sold items from catalogues, and his father was very skilled and used his hands to earn his wages. Besides providing David with the basics, they provided him the essentials–the desire for an education and a strong Christian faith.

As poor as the family was, if life could have stayed at least that way, things might have been alright. But it didn’t. It wasn’t fair. David’s father suffered an accident, causing him to lose his right hand and forcing the family to make an extremely difficult decision. To survive, the family decided that they “had to move to a place where [they] could be helped”–the United States. David was very young, and it was a difficult trip, but not so difficult that it would extinguish the fire inside of David, one that he himself probably didn’t even know was there.

Once in the United States, challenges met David head on, leaving him with little comfort. He was without his parents, living in someone else’s house in someone else’s culture, and trying to speak someone else’s language. He was the unwanted and the unloved. And he was lonely. But he had God and the values that his parents instilled in him. It would have been so easy for David to give up, yet he chose to persevere.

As time passed, David learned English, assimilated into American life, and excelled in his studies. But the injustices were not over–his mother fell ill with diabetes and later suffered renal failure. Her fight was long and difficult and broke David’s heart. Surely he wondered why must he go through another struggle, one that a high school boy shouldn’t have to experience. While others might have turned to dangerous outlets for anger and sadness, David could do only one thing–study even harder to obtain the treasure that she left for him.

Today, that treasure is within his reach. David is on his way to one of the top three universities in Texas–Texas A&M. He will be studying medicine, in particular the heart. He says, “I want to care for the organ that has endured the most pain in my life, my heart.”

The question is, what is your decision. Are you going to let the unexpected and injustices of life hold you down, or are you going to be like David Garcia and “take the opportunity to flourish and give out your best”?

By David Garcia