I wish everyone knew Shea Megale.
This young woman travels through life with an overflowing heart and an incredible way with life and with words. Despite having the challenges of a debilitating disease that confines her body to a wheelchair, her Spirit soars unencumbered. She leads the way and I hope we all will follow.
There is no doubt Shea is a talented writer, but in my estimation, her real gift is in opening her heart, reaching out in Love, and connecting with people. It happens for her in deep and extraordinary ways. The characters in these frequent interactions vary, but the common thread is that she sees the other more than she sees herself. She reaches out to where they are and meets them there. Hers is often a Holy response to humanity. And so it was when she agreed to meet me, the friend of a friend, for a recent lunch on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.
We talked about common ground and life and her way of being in this world. I told her that I was deeply touched by her many writings of extraordinary connections made with random strangers. She makes me want to have that kind of heart and as we chatted, I asked her how she came to be this way, so open, so loving to all she encounters. This was her answer:
When I hear the prompting to reach out to someone, I listen. Once you start to do that, the encounters happen more and more. But when you ignore them, they go away.
I nodded, soaking in the wisdom of this young one who faces many challenges, but still gives much of herself as a writer, a tutor, a penpal to inmates, an advocate speaking out against the heroin epidemic that stole her brother’s life, and much more.
As our conversation continued, we talked about her new book, This is not a Love Scene, a novel filled with insider information about young adulthood complicated by life with a disability. It’s an important story, one endorsed by New York Times best selling author, David Baldacci, among others. (If you haven’t picked it up yet, please do. Today. For you. For your young adults. For all who could benefit from understanding those with physical challenges. Which means, every one of us. Plus, what a great way to support this young woman’s talent!)
Before we said farewell, her mother, Megan, took a picture (above) of the two of us and I asked Shea if she would sign my copy of her new book. Of course she obliged. It was only later that I flipped to the title page and read her inscription:
“Keep following the promptings. I love you.”
You bet I will, my friend. I hope we all do. Thank you, Shea, for inspiring us and leading us in Love and Grace. Thank you for precious time spent in your presence. And know that I Love you, too, my friend.