Monday, September 29, 2008

Growing Pains

I was reminded this past weekend of how far I've come from when I first became paralyzed by an email sent to me. A gentleman by the name of Gary in Florida shared with me that he has been paralyzed for a little over a year now and that by seeing my site, he was reminded again that there is life after a disability. Wow! What a compliment! However, I had no idea how much it was going to throw me back to how I was a year after being hurt. Yes, life was hard then. Very, very hard for me. Let me not forget that my great life now took years to accomplish and a lot of muddy waters to tread through. But, it does get better! I can promise you that!

A year after I got hurt is when I began to start giving up on God. In my finite mind, I figured God was just going to make me endure this pain for a year to teach me some sort of lesson, but after that, He would make it all better again and give me back the life I knew. I specifically remember on my one year anniversary waking up and looking over to the side of my bed and seeing my wheelchair sitting there next to me. I was more confident than ever that that day would be the day I wouldn't have had to use it anymore. I remember concentrating very hard before trying to move my legs on my own to the side of the bed, but unfortunately, they just layed there... lifeless. I believe it was around that moment that I thought God had forgotten about me. That He hadn't heard my numerous tears or screams of anguish to make it all go away! As the days got further and further away from that date of July 29, 2000 (the date of my accident), the sadder I got and the more alone I felt. It was very, very hard to put my faith and trust in a God who seemed (in my eyes) to be silent.

Christopher Reeves once said that he realized at one point that he could either sit inside his house and watch the birds fly outside his window, or he could get outside and fly with them. I made a conscious decision to choose to "fly." I knew it was going to be something that would take a lot of purposeful effort, some days taking three steps forward to taking one step back the next day. I knew I had to only stay focused on today, but realize that overall, I was making progress. I allowed myself to celebrate the things that were good, and decide to find ways to work on things that were hindering me. Every day was a choice on how to spend that day... sad, alone, and angry, or thankful, persevering, and hopeful. When it was a bad day, I let myself have a bad day (because as a Christian, I "thought" I was supposed to be "happy" all the time and that it wasn't ok to feel the way I was really feeling.) Everytime I said or thought I couldn't do something anymore because of my disability, I listed 5 things I still could do. It was a mindset shift. Only through the power of God revealing Himself to me along the way (even though I didn't recognize a lot of it during the time) did I come to realize (looking back) that He was there for me all along.

The journey is hard. No doubt about that. And there are still days that are bad where I tend to place the blame on my disability. But I am thankful for everything and count all things for the Lord. No matter what "hard" thing you're dealing with in life, slow down, take a good look at it, and be patient with yourself and with the Lord as together you move into the next level of growth. You can do it!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! Is that you on the picture on the beach? If so you look just gorgeous!
For how long time had you been paralyzed when that pic was taken?
What level is your sci and do you have any feeling or movement at all below the injury? Any spasms?
I just noticed that your feet looks to be in a great shape, there is just no way you can tell they are paralyzed, they look perfectly normal.

March 30, 2009 at 1:49 PM  

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