That’s what Sarah Said

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Whenever my mom tags me in a Facebook post, my heart skips a beat because I’m just waiting for another embarrassing photo of me to be made public to all my friends.

But this time, my mom chose to hold off on humiliating me and instead she tagged me in a video the Baltimore Ravens had shared Sept. 20.

This video wasn’t game footage or a post game press conference, but rather it was a video of Head Coach John Harbaugh discussing a message he recently received from O.J. Brigance, the Ravens senior advisor to player engagement.

“We are being formed, shaped and fashioned by the fire of adversity,” the message said. “None of us know why, but it seems to be the Ravens way. God continues to show us the precious balance between life and death, constantly showing us the importance of living this day and not taking it for granted with heavy hearts pressed on to receive what God has in store for us.”

Brigance is the only player to win a Canadian Football League title and a Super Bowl for the same city. Both of Brigance’s championships were for the city of Baltimore, according to an ESPN article published in July.

Yet Brigance’s legacy is more than football success. It’s his outlook on life as he fights against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to the Ravens website, Brigance created his own foundation called the Brigance Brigade Foundation “whose mission is to equip, encourage and empower people living with ALS.”

Harbaugh said how encouraged he is by Brigance’s lack of attention on what he can’t do physically, but rather what God allows him to do at this point in his life.

“The great lesson that I learn and see in O.J. every single day is what’s possible,” Harbaugh said. “But just because he can do the smallest things: smile, look at you, work his eyebrows, work the machine through his eyes — the smallest movement — he can change the world. He can have an impact that is bigger than probably any of us can have.”

What an inspiration Brigance can be to us all. Though Brigance can’t physically walk with his legs or speak with his mouth, the tenacity with which he approaches life, is encouragement to keep going and to focus on what God has for you in whatever season of life you’re in.

We can’t count someone out because they have been diagnosed with a debilitating illness or because we can’t relate to what they are dealing with. God has a purpose for everyone, and our job is to help encourage them to find that purpose.

“He’s the strongest man in the building by far, and he’s the guy that physically can do the least because he’s not focused on what he can’t do,” Harbaugh said. “He’s focused on what he can do.”

Harbaugh sees deeper past Brigance’s words. He sees the courage and the toughness of a man who understands his purpose — just like we need to see people for who they are and who they can become.

“That’s true strength,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the strength of Jesus.”

Rodriguez is the editor-in-chief.


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