When we have something traumatic rock our the world as we knew it, we always ask “why?” God must have had a good reason to allow this happen to His beloved child. (Take it from an expert,) our Heavenly Father does inexplicably know us down to every molecule. He is not punishing us with our hardships. There is consistently a lesson to be learned, a blessing to find, a soul to be changed. It is exactly like the refinery’s fire. I feel I was given this trial to help me and others grow in compassion and appreciation. I reckon back to that song. “Each Life That Touches Ours For Good.” (Google it.) The thought that this happened to me to benefit other people (aside from what I’ve learned) helps me accept it more easily. I have witnessed the changes in my family already!
The other day I watched the movie “Stronger,” the story of the man who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings. (Coincidently it was on the anniversary of the actual bombing, not planned, just happened!) I wanted to see it, because it was a movie about a guy in a wheelchair. I was personally interested. But I got much more from it than I expected!
The movie portrayed his daily struggles, and his yearning to accept it. (I can totally relate!) Many people attempted to make him the personified symbol for the “Boston Strong” mentality. He fought it. He did not want to be the bombing mascot. Until he met the man who helped him to the hospital right after the life-altering incident. This man expressed his desire to help since was unable help his soldier brother when he died on the battlefield. He also expressed the need to witness this man succeed, and his continued inspiration through his positive die-hard attitude. This encounter changed his mission in life, and he embraced the thought of being a motivation to others. (Kapow! Uh, was this movie trying to talk to me?) I need to “forget myself and get to work.”
When I was laying in the hospital right after the stroke, I remember waking many times briefly and thinking, “My family is growing closer. This is a growing experience for them.” What I wasn’t aware of was that I would affect many more. All those who so generously helped our family, people who knew me before and heard the news, new friends I have made along the way, and blog readers who share a chunk of my brain now and then. All those in the realm of my existence (within my six degrees of separation, by definition, everyone) have been effected by my experiences. Therefore, I must be a example of positivity and one who notices and gives appreciation for the blessings that might be difficult to see.
I recently had my first speaking engagement for a church group. I was very anxious about it. I sat on the fence regarding the results. In my high school years, I was a debater and was pretty comfortable speaking publicly. But post-stroke, I don’t enjoy speaking in front of groups due to the thought of being stared upon and the speech impediment I deal with. My husband and a friend plotted at convincing me to speak. I insisted my husband sit next to me, and we planned that he would grab the baton (or microphone) if (when) I break down with emotion. After about thirty seconds, I did lose emotional control, and he took over. This actually worked out fine since he shared the part when I wasn’t really cognizant. Then I started feeling more comfortable, but I had to figuratively wrestle him to get the baton back. (He enjoyed speaking whether or not he would admit it!) I started talking so much, I found myself running out of breath and began feeling exhausted. (It. Can. Be. Difficult. To. Speak. Without. A. Break.) It ended up being exhilarating. I greeted a line of people after, they shared many compliments (which always makes me uncomfortable), they shared their similar experiences, and they had many questions. (I learned quickly what I should’ve talked about in front of the group!) Many attendees departed uplifted and motivated. (I just told my story. Who knew?)
I have learned that my new calling is to remind people of what is truly important. It is imperative I be a positive example. (No pressure and no highway option! Meaning, I can’t escape.) My hope is that I can do what the Lord has in mind for me!