I recently heard a very powerful story about a young man who was paralyzed in a sporting accident. His outlook on life was remarkably positive, despite the complete and utter shock to his entire existence and way of life. It really struck a heart chord and reminded me of a similar story I read about in Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search For Meaning.
The book mentions a man named Jerry Long who was rendered a quadriplegic after experiencing an accident while diving. The attitude that he adopted in life nearly brought me to tears the first time I read it — although if you’ve read Man’s Search For Meaning you’ll be near tears, or in tears, for much of the book. Long wrote Frankl a letter and in the letter he stated “I broke my neck, it didn’t break me.”
In the telling of both of these stories there was an undeniable aura of thankfulness. Thankfulness for the lessons, thankfulness that they lived to face another day, and thankfulness that they are able to help other’s experiencing similar situations. Although I’ve met neither of them personally, simply hearing their positivity and joy in the face of adversity has proven to be a life giving inspiration to my soul and a reminder to be thankful in all things — big and small.
“My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
It’s amazing how easy it is to take a simple bike ride for granted, a conversation with a loved one, or a coffee at my favourite shop. It’s an everyday experience, but it’s also one that can disappear in the blink of an eye. I don’t know what each day will hold and I fully believe in the validity of an individual’s personal feelings, regardless of their situation, but it could always be so much worse!