It always amazes me how much can happen in a short period of time, but I’m actually speechless at how much has happened in the past 6 months of my life alone. There’s no easy way to summarize the events that have lead me to where I’m sitting now. No way to describe the laughs that fill my home or the jokes that so quickly consume my conversations. No way to quantify the number of tears I’ve cried or the times I just wanted to wake up from this terrible dream. No way to express my gratitude and thanksgiving for the challenges I’ve already encountered and will continue to face. I guess the best way to try is by reflecting on a few of the lessons God has decided to begin teaching me since I was injured 6 months ago today.
Lesson 1: Life is fragile and precious.
When I think back on my journey, it amazes me how I can even be sitting here today, writing and sharing these thoughts with you. While I was in Critical Care a doctor remarked that if the tree that fell on me had landed an inch or two higher or lower, I would have been a goner. I underwent a 10 hour surgery to stabilize my spinal column, anything could have happened. I had 4 bronchoscopy procedures early in my rehab in which a tube was passed down my throat and into my lungs to suck out the collection of mucus that had settled there. That tube could have easily punctured my lung that had already deflated twice after a broken rib punctured it. I could keep going, but all the things that could have happened, didn’t and they do not makeup the reality in which I currently reside. Every day is a gift, a gift to be cherished, celebrated, and used to its fullest potential.
Lesson 2: Relationships matter.
Looking back at the time before my injury, the places I tended to spend my time really weren’t important. I filled my days with work and homework, barley setting aside time to communicate and connect with my closest friends and family. Not that work and homework aren’t important or necessary, sometimes they are, but they aren’t everything. I’ve realized now how important those people are to me and to my happiness in life. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support I received from the countless people who reached out to me and my family. I cherish my friends and family so very much and can’t believe I have been blessed so richly. As my Mom would say, “Always remember to say I love you. Hug your hubby, kids, and friends as they are all a precious gift from the Lord.”
Lesson 3: Challenges are reminders to trust God.
If someone would have asked me in early May, “Do you trust God?” I would have said yes without thinking twice. But when placed in a situation where I needed to do just that, I didn’t do a whole lot of trusting. I got angry. I asked questions that didn’t need answers. Heck, I still do and probably always will. God places challenges in our lives for a reason, and one of those reasons just may be to remind us how very much we need Him. Each of us face challenges every single day that may cause us to stumble, or doubt, or question God and His plan for our lives. But it’s in these challenges and learning how to overcome them that we get to experience a mere glimmer of God’s power and glory. I have to share 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 with you since I can’t make my point any clearer than these verses do.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Lesson 4: Learn, then teach.
I grew up thinking I was accepting of everyone and their differences. I was a Community Adviser while in college and thought I had diversity and social justice all figure out. Yet in reality, I found out how very little I truly knew. I have learned and am still learning mountains about the disabled community and what it’s like to live as a person with a different ability. Being an individual who has experienced life being both able-bodied and differently abled, I feel as though I offer a unique perspective into the world so many people find themselves in. There is an entire population of people in our country that is rarely thought about and I want to help change that. I want to teach others and encourage others to spread the knowledge as well. After all, what good is knowledge if you aren’t willing to share it?
Lesson 5: Never sit still.
Before my injury I was a master at being busy. I filled my days from sun-up to sun-down to the point I carried a daily planner that split my life up into 15 minute increments to keep track of everything. I’ve been injured for 6-months and I’m still just as good at staying busy and filling my days with this and that as I ever was walking. We have all been blessed with the gift to experience life on this earth and everything it offers, so why not actually experience ALL of it. There are so many things to try, so many things to do, and so many people to talk to I get excited just thinking about it. I find it ironic that I now spend my days sitting in a wheelchair and I still rarely stop moving. In my mind, God blessed me with this life and I’m going to live every moment to its very fullest.
Sometimes the life we plan for ourselves is not the same as the life God plans for us to have. But you know what, His plan always has been and always will be the best one for us. No matter what has been thrown at you, no matter how broken up and beat down you feel. no matter how badly you just want to give up, why should you? Why should you let something so wonderful and so fulfilling as life go to waste. Why not live with an undeniable passion and drive for each and every moment you’ve been given.
In my life, I know I will never sit still. Will you?