Who Inspired Me the Most in 2012

Malala Yousafzai

You all know as well as I do that it’s imprudent to pick one thing as your favorite, because it simply leaves out too many other possibilities and creates a sense of hierarchy which is completely unintended.  Picking your favorite Christmas present out of however many were given to you by family?  Dangerous!  Picking one favorite pot-luck dish brought to the parish Christmas gathering? Not smart! Picking which child is the cutest at the baptisms held this past Saturday? Don’t do it.

So it is with some risk that I select one favorite story to share with you which inspired me the most in 2012.  So many to pick from:  the heroes and angels of Newtown, Connecticut, the heroes who helped the victims of Hurricane Sandy, individuals who risked life and limb to save an animal, a business man who purchased a company and then turned around and gave the company to its employees.  There are too many to list, but among them, one stands out as a story I will never forget.

The person who inspired me the most in 2012 is Malala Yousafzai, the 15 year old Pakistani girl who spoke out in support of education for girls in Pakistan and became an assassination target for the Taliban. Malala was riding home from school with other students when a Taliban gunman entered the school bus, singled out Malala, and shot her in the head and neck. Miraculously Malala survived the attack. After she was stabilized, she was moved to a hospital in the United Kingdom where she is still living today while also going through intensive therapy.

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around what it must have been like for Malala to grow up in a country where women are treated so blatantly as being inferior to men. Hard for me to understand what the threat is in educating children, regardless of their gender. Hard for me to imagine what it was like to become a spokesperson, and by association, a protester against an extreme regime, and to imagine what it must have been like as a child to speak out against individuals who you know have the power to kill you.  Where did she get such courage?  To risk her own life so others could benefit?  She’s amazing.

With all due respect to how far we have thankfully come in our own country, in regard to the equal rights of women, we still have a lot further to go when we’re still discussing in the public arena topics such as glass ceilings, equal pay scales and whether or not women can be ordained.  We still have a ways to go.

Malala’s life is still being threatened, as is her father’s.  I’m sure her entire family is in grave danger.  But I admire this child: her bravery, courage, and single-heartedness.  God bless Malala and all who speak out against injustice.  May I be as brave.

Who inspired you this year?

Peace friends,




  • Pat says:

    What a good choice, Chuck! I have been praying for this young woman since her attack. She has been a real inspiration to the world. May God protect her and her family, Pat

  • Pat says:

    Definitely an inspiring individual – to impact so many people at such a young age. In my case, I was inspired by someone closer to home – inspired by her incredible love, energy and giving of her time for friends in need. How wonderful to actually witness one of God’s angels in action! She provided nursing care to a friend who was battling cancer for most of the year. More than that, she provided friendship and comfort to both him and his wife during the several months before his death, and she continues to provide for his wife today. She also aided a family struggling with an elderly friend with memory issues. What a Godsend she has been to this woman and her friends. How fortunate I am to experience God’s love through this woman’s work.

  • Bill says:

    I agree with your choice. Malala speaks to the power of one. It’s unfortunate that too often it takes violence against a brave spokesperson to really bring an important issue to the broader audience.

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