The word ‘inspirational’ gets thrown around way too much these days.
When someone sings a song well on a talent show, the celebrity judges call it inspirational. When a dog finds its way home over a long distance, the clickbait headline says it is inspirational. When a footballer kicks a goal, the commentator declares it inspirational.
In many ways, the word inspirational means less than it used to, less than it should. But the man I am talking to on Wednesday night on The Weekly is the definition of inspiration.
Maurice Gleeson is blind and has been for half a century. The way it happened was in equal parts accidental and freakish — but it was his run of bad luck after he lost the ability to see that could jolt even the most cynical of us into some perspective.
Similar catastrophes would take the lives of one of his brothers and his parents and leave his remaining brother also blind. Among all that loss, of sight and life, Maurice lost his world and the will to live.
Listen: Grandmother Helen Fuller is someone who sets an example for all of us. (Post continues after audio.)
But to hear Maurice tell the story of how he somehow rediscovered his love for life and managed to share that love with others on his way to being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia is simply that – inspirational. The kind of inspirational that makes you stop making excuses for yourself and motivates you to make the most of everything you have in this world.