Simon Weston CBE is well known in the UK as a veteran of the 1982 Falklands War in which he sustained serious burns when his ship The Sir Galahad was bombed on 8 June 1982.
At a conference which I attended last week, I had the privilege of listening to Simon Weston give a motivational speech, in which he explained, with simplicity and clarity, the distinction between Fate and Destiny.
Fate, he said, is what happens
Destiny, he said, is in our own hands.
After sustaining terrible injuries, Simon Weston said that whilst at his hospital bedside his mother had said to him “Right Simon, where do we go from here because the world does not owe you a favour”
After being discharged from the army, which had been his whole life, and coming to terms with his injuries and his sense of guilt over the loss of his friends, whom he could not help, Simon Weston has lived a public life supporting various charities which aimed to support young people to find their destiny.
I felt inspired by his life, which through great effort and determination, and whilst suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and undergoing 96 separate operations on his face and hands, he has been able to make his life an opportunity to make a difference.
He said, “we all have to learn from our mistakes and keep a sense of proportion when things go wrong.”
Life he said, goes on, and I had to learn to accept myself as I was and overcome my fear of failure in the present and my assumption that my future would be a failure too.
After being told by a young woman on a night out in a pub that his injured face had spoiled her night out and that he should have stayed at home, he said, “You can’t do anything about what other people say – all you can do is maintain your own dignity”
I, William Defoe, have spent many years questioning the origins of my sexual orientation and whether someone else was to blame for my sense of fear and isolation.
I have come to realise that how I am, is how I was born and this is my Fate.
The fact that I have overcome my sense of failure and that I am working hard to live my life in the present is my Destiny.
My next blog will be: What would you change?
I offer my prayers for the Argentine and British Soldiers who lost their lives during the Falklands War in 1982 and for those who live with mental and physical injuries and their families.
I also offer my prayers for a closer friendship between the government and citizens of the UK and Argentina.
I also pray for our Pope Francis, a gift to the world from Argentina!