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His story

His story
His story
Dr. Wayne Willis

Here comes another “reality is stranger than fiction” story.

Cyrus Habib, born in Baltimore, graduated from Columbia University summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from Yale Law School, where he was editor of the Yale Law Journal. He won his first political race for the House of Representatives in the state of Washington. Then, he became a state senator and, at age 35, lieutenant governor. He is the first and only Iranian-American to hold statewide elected office in the United States.

Oh, yes, Habib is blind. Due to a rare cancer, retinoblastoma, he lost sight in his left eye when he was 2 and in his right eye when he was 8. Undaunted, he excelled academically, became a downhill skier and, last summer, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

When many were assuming that his next move up would be to governor or senator, Habib surprisingly announced that he had had a spiritual awakening and was going to end his political career to become a Jesuit priest, a process that takes about 10 years. He explained he had been getting too full of himself, losing his life in rock stardom and the cult of celebrity. He disliked spending so much time posturing as a politician and raising money for the next campaign. He aspires now to live life left less self-centeredly.

Growing up a blind Iranian-American boy, Habib learned the pain of exclusion. He wants to live from here on siding with the poor, sick and disabled, immigrants and other marginalized people, as Jesus did.

A friend of mine eloquently commented, “Goodbye fame, goodbye limelight. Welcome, poverty, chastity and obedience.”

Then, half seriously, I think, he added, “Maybe someday he’ll be Pope.”

Is this a great country or what?

Happy Independence Day.

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