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Mo Gaba Taught Us Well

“I have to remind myself that SOME BIRDS AREN’T MEANT TO BE CAGED. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up, does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone.” ~ Ellis Boy “Red” Redding, Shawshank Redemption

When someone as precious as a child is taken away, we’re left wondering why. And sometimes we’re left questioning our faith. Why would a loving God allow a child to suffer and snatch away the opportunity of living a healthy life?

Why does an infant lose his eyesight before his first birthday? Why does he spend 75% of his life in the hospital, fighting four bouts of cancer, oftentimes confined to a wheelchair? Why is the development of this child, now a teenaged boy, that of one half his age?

It’s just not fair.

Welcome to the world of Mo Gaba.

But Mo never let any of his many ailments derail the joy he sought and discovered in each and every day. He could have clammed up and retreated into a shell like a frightened box turtle, but instead, driven by an insatiable zest for life, Mo did just the opposite. Although blind, he saw, uncovered, grabbed onto, and then bathed in the silver lining of every single day.

Life handed him the most bitter of lemons and he turned them into the nectar of gods.

Mo was a gift to all of us. He was a gift from God. We should all bask in the glow of this “Gift of Gaba”.

Maybe his world was made simpler because he was entrapped by his disabilities. Maybe that forced him to view life from a different perspective. Maybe this blind boy saw things that those with vision were blinded to.

We all know the challenges we’re faced with each day. Civil unrest, political discord and pandemic concerns dominate our society. The negativity we see and feel can be suffocating – if we let it. Mo had every reason to allow those things, coupled with his debilitating afflictions, crush his existence. Yet he did just the opposite.

He’d say, “Make the most of today”.

“Have fun and love each other”.

And when he knew the end was near, he apologized to his Mom for dying.

There just aren’t enough superlatives in any language to describe the heart and soul of this beautiful boy. If you Google “treasure” his name should appear at the top of the list. In a world that desperately needs hope, it’s spelled M – O.

Mo simplified things because in part, he had little choice. And through his simplification process, he saw joy in every day.

We see, yet we’re blinded by the negative distractions and joy, for many, is at best a squinty-eyed, distant blur.

Mo is gone but in his 14 brief years with us, he taught us all a lesson. It is there for all of us to see. It is his everlasting gift to all of us that should live in perpetuity.

If we only open our eyes and listen…

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Tony Lombardi
Besides his work here at Thumbs Up 247, Tony is the founder and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Recap. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. Drop him a note at

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