By Jeff Fox

It’s not what life throws at you. It’s what you do about it.

“There are some people who see all the obstacles, and they will shrink from the opportunity of the moment,” Lucas Boyce told a crowd of hundreds at Friday’s Independence Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon.

Boyce, a graduate of Centerplace Restoration School in Independence and of the University of Central Missouri, has worked in the White House and is today the director of business development and legislative affairs for the Orlando Magic of the NBA. The title of his book, “Living Proof: From Foster Care to the White House and the NBA,” suggests much of his story of persistently pursuing lofty goals.

“Imagine if we were to look at life differently,” he said, “if we were not trying to beat others but beat ourselves on our best day.”

Boyce, who said he initially struggled in school, thanked his mother, Dorothy Boyce, who adopted him, drove him and inspired her children. He was valedictorian of his class at Centerplace.

“She always told all of us you can do anything you put your mind to,” he said.

He recalled a trip, as a youth, to Washington, D.C., and seeing the White House one evening.

“And I remember saying to myself, someday I want to be on the inside,” he said. He also wanted to fly on Air Force One. He achieved all of that, working in the Office of Public Liaison and the Office of Political Affairs under President George W. Bush from 2003 through 2008.

Boyce mentioned a statement by President Harry Truman: “I do not believe there is a problem in this country or the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.” That well-known part of the Gospels includes Christ saying such things as “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Boyce also mentioned another well-loved part of Scripture, Psalm 139 – Boyce said it guides his life – which includes “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”

“If we are fearfully and wonderfully made,” Boyce said, “then that requires a response.”

He was using that to illustrate the first of what he called six decisions everyone must make: Decide that one is “built for more,” believe in the possible, join a team – “We will not get through life alone,” he said – live life “at 212 degrees,” meaning to push for more, never give up, and finally, don’t take oneself too seriously.

There also was a moment of recognition for Mayor Don Reimal, who leaves office next spring after eight years as mayor and, before that, 12 years as a City Council member.

“ ... we appreciate your service so much for so many years,” master of ceremonies Ron Finke told Reimal.