Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lucky 13

November 17 probably just seems like an ordinary day to most people, but for me, this date holds an extreme amount of significance, since that was the day when my life changed in a monumental way. The day I was transformed, physically, and reborn, spiritually. My life was changed in a split second, and has turned out very differently than I ever would have expected. My new life hasn't been a cakewalk, but it's been much better than you might think.

The two feelings/emotions that I've felt most deeply over the past 13 years are quite different from each other: disappointment and joy.

The Disappointment:
What happened to me at the young age of 19 was really so sad. Just as I was emerging into the adult world, I was struck down and thrust into a life of extreme disability. [I wonder if anyone ever thinks about what that would've been like, or would be like. If you've never given it any thought, think about it for a minute, just to give yourself an idea of how difficult it would be.] If being disabled was all you had ever known, it would be much easier, in my opinion, than to have known what it was like to be "normal," only to suddenly find yourself being anything but normal, physically, while at the same time still being the same person you always were, mentally and emotionally. It's an extremely difficult transition.

After my accident, my biggest hopes and dreams for the future were no longer attainable. My dreams were snuffed out, just like that. Finishing nursing school/working as a nurse? That was over just as it was beginning. Marriage? Still possible, but not likely. Children? Nope. There were so many things I wanted to do and experience in life that I would now never be able to do. Even small, insignificant things like doing my own hair and makeup, or dressing in the kinds of clothes I liked were no longer possible. There has been so much to be disappointed about, and I know the disappointment could overwhelm and consume me, if I let it (which I won't).

The Joy:
Despite the tragedy of the situation, I've been able to make some refreshing lemonade out of the lemons life has thrown my way. I give all the credit to God, though, since He has given me the gift of joy that has allowed me to press forward with positivity.

Psalm 30:5 says, "... weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I know that my physical situation is only temporary. I'm sure my paralysis will last the rest of my life, but in the grand scheme of things, mortality is actually very brief. I just need to put "mind over matter" and keep pressing forward. After all, as Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." If I live a good life, I know God will reward me and compensate me for everything I've had to give up or go without. Anything is bearable for a little while, especially if you know there are good things in store.

I feel very lucky to be alive, happy and doing as well as I am. 🌷


The Healthy Way, Somerset said...

Hi Heather! This is so inspiring! My husband just sent me this link to your blog and I'm so grateful to hear how you're doing. I knew you back then, when you had the whole world in front of you. I was sickened to hear of your accident just after we moved from that area. All these years, I've admired your courage, determination, and the joy you exude. May God continue to bless you with the ability to give hope to others in need. With Much Love, Misti Rennick

Debra Shaffer said...

Heather- I also remember that night. As your theater family heard of your accident and rushed to the hospital to be close to you. We all held our breathe as you recovered. I remeber thinking of our talks about religion and relationships while we scrubbed the floors at work. I also reflect on your undying love for everyone and your excitement of be a nurse. You have such a pure heart that I am not surprised at how you have transformed. You are like a beautiful butterfly and you spirit has been set free because of your physical limitations. You are truly an amazing daughter of God and although we are not super close friends, you are the kind of person I would love to be near. God bless you and know that your accident has affected my life as I constantly share your story and testify of your amazing way to take a terrible tragedy and turn it into an opportunity to help others through your blog. I love you very much and would love to reconnect. Thank you so much for sharing your life with me.

Julie said...

Hi Heather,
I was thinking of you around this date, but I couldn't remember exactly what day it was.

Thank you for being so honest in this post, especially with the disappointments. I know you think about the positives too, but it still must be very hard for you at times.

Thank you for your brill blog. I love your updates.x

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you & your Mum etc, hope you had a lovely time. x

Emily Ann Hupe said...

We share a unique anniversary. I too, remember 11/17 as the day my life changed forever. I became a T12 para following a spinal cord bleed. I was having our youngest child by c-section on 11/17/04. I have followed you blog since 2012. Thank you for sharing your story and your faith. You make me see the brighter side and I am truly grateful to you for that.

Jen said...

Hi Heather ~

You're right. You were struck down. You were jerked in a way not many are or ever will be. That day and every forward. Because it never stops, does it? Tragedy wrapped in blessings. And blessings wrap the tragedy. We, family, and friends make it better, but it's always there.

When you say (in your opinion) it would be easier if being disabled were all you've ever known, I believe you Heather. I hear you. You my sweet, you deserve to voice these opposing feelings too. I have a feeling you know that though.

As for lemonade, you've made some of the best I've seen. To pull the positive, to see the bright, I admire you greatly.

This holiday season and the year through, I'm keeping you and your beautiful family close to my heart. Wishing you peace, love, and beauty.


Kim@stuffcould.... said...

You are so inspiring! Yes life has many many disappointments but I do think of ones like you that cant stand when I stand, take a shower, etc. Well my aunt was bedridden, therefore name of my blog. You are looking on the bright side which reminds me of my bedridden aunt...who left an impression on me. I am sure you are inspiring to the ones around you besides your blog readers.
Ps. I have not forgotten your nice comment on my blog, I never could reply to it??
pss. Streams In the Desert is a really good devotional book, it helps me a lot

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