November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. Various people are offering their thoughts on Chris Maxwell and his battle with epilepsy. Today’s writer is David Welday who has known Chris for over 25 years. David is an author and president of HigherLife Publishing and Marketing, and also president of Welday Consulting and Coaching. His latest book is The A Factor: 52 Keys to a Winning Attitude.

Pick up a copy of his book, or to know more about Chris Maxwell’s illness, read his story in Underwater.

I admit it, I’m a James Bond geek.  My sons and I, we’ve seen every Bond movie, multiple times.  If you know anything about James Bond, you know the drink he often orders in his movies is a martini “shaken, not stirred.”

I confess, I’ve never actually had a martini so I don’t pretend to know the significance between one that is shaken but not stirred.  But what I do think of every time I hear the phrase, is my dear friend Chris Maxwell.  I’ve known Chris since before his illness, before either of us even started having kids.  And now we are both grandpa’s!  I know his epilepsy changed him.  It changed him in ways he most likely would never have desired…yet his illness has in many ways made him better – a better man, a better friend, a better person.

True, his illness brings with it some limitations.  He is indeed “shaken” at times. But his heart, his mind, his vision, his goals are not stirred, or even deterred.  In fact, his illness has brought him blessings…and isn’t that true for so much of life.  If we look for it, we can find the silver lining, the blessing in the midst of the darkest storm.  

For Chris, epilepsy, has allowed (ok, forced), him to slow down, to listen more intently, to engage more deeply.  It has made him more sensitive to the pains, the fears, the hurts and insecurities of others.  Oh he’s still Chris – a sharp minded, sometimes sharp-tongued leader who lives with purpose and passion.  But amidst that “driven-ness” there is a quite calm that despite being shaken, is not stirred.

I am grateful for Chris.  When I find myself getting stressed out, when I feel a weight of overwhelmed-ness, I often call Chris.  I know he will listen, love me unconditionally, pray for me and usually speak a timely word that is just what I needed.