As we conclude our Highlight a Hero series, I want to let you all know about Avery’s impact on my life. Avery and I met at Children’s Hospital Colorado. I’d been hanging out with some of the patients there and I remember noticing that Avery’s room looked more like a hotel room than a hospital room. Avery decorated it like he had been there awhile or was expecting to be there a lot longer. Avery also intrigued me because he always beat my friend JJ Lane in video games. Avery wanted better competition and I was happy to provide him with that. We quickly became friends.
Later this year, Avery asked if some of my friends and I would join him at his prom. Due to Avery’s constant medical difficulties, his friends had graduated before he did and he wanted us to join him. The night was an absolute blast. We had a great dinner together, and I think my readers know that I love any opportunity to dance. Now that you have a little background on Avery and I, let me explain three things I’ve learned from our friendship:
1. People are not projects
I served others a lot as I grew up — but I think I had a hidden agenda. I did not always want to get to know the people I served; I wanted to exert some sort of influence on their life. If they didn’t want what I was “selling,” I moved on. Through my friendship with Avery, I saw how damaging that mentality is. I’d been trying to help others, but I wasn’t trying to build relationships with them. Avery has taught me that loving and listening is what makes the world a better place.
2. Serve where you feel called
My platform from The Bachelor has given me something I love: seeing where people are serving. I get asked to help with all sorts of incredible projects, involving everything from children, elderly, animals, disease, religion, and mental illness. In Avery’s first article he shared his experiences with bullying, and it’s fantastic to see people serving in so many different areas. So I encourage you to pursue what you are passionate about and serve in the area you were made to serve. The world has over 7 billion people in it. There is room for all of our passions.
3. As Avery said, “There’s more going on than meets the eye.”
In part two of his series Avery shared how people truly care when “they understand that there’s more going on than meets the eye.” Avery has shown me this in spades. I had no idea he would impact my life on this level and that he would teach me so many great life lessons. I think we can all do better about not placing limitations or expectations on others solely based on what our eyes see. When we do that, we confine what someone can do and we can stunt our own personal growth.
Finally, Avery, on behalf of Mahogany Workplace and our readers, thank you for being our hero. We know that your wisdom and story has made a phenomenal impact on so many of us.
By Ben Higgins