Friday, January 14, 2011

I Met A Man

I met a man the other day. He and I were sat next to each other by fate, I think. For the sake of privacy, I'll call him Jim.

Jim was probably in his sixties and in a motorized wheelchair.  It was one of those big wheelchairs, with a headrest and everything. Jim had some use of his hands, but he was obviously in pretty tough shape. Of course I wondered what brought him to that place; not the place we were in together, but the place he had obviously been in for some time. Naturally curious, I wondered what might have happened to put him in that chair, but I knew I would never ask.

As our time together drew on a good conversation began to take place. We talked about football, and the weather, luck and fate. Then he opened the door... when he ended a short story with these words,

"... you know, since I had my accident."

I wasted no time in asking, "What happened to you?"

So much for never asking.

Jim opened right up told me that he had been paralyzed as a Senior in high school, while wrestling with a friend. Not organized sports kind of wrestling, just a couple of guys goofing around.

"It was just a freak accident." He said.

One minute he was fine, the next minute he was paralyzed from the neck down, for life.

My heart sunk, thinking about my own son, a senior in high school.

"What if?" I thought.

 What must his mother and father felt that day? Did they think their son's life was over?

Jim had rendered me speechless. He went on to tell me that he had great support of friends, family and teachers around him at that time. He managed to graduate with his class that year and go on to college. He graduated with a degree, I can't remember the type, and then went on to another college for another degree, this time in theology.

Jim left college and went to work as a chaplain in the mental health field, then later became a chaplain for... I think it was the military... finally he became a professor at a University and retired from there.

My head was spinning. I'm sure my jaw was dropped. I could not speak, this time because of the lump in my throat.

Sometimes my son says his life sucks. I admit I have my down days too. I know it's all relative, but really, if I've got all of my faculties, and every opportunity, what have I got to be down about? If a guy like Jim can come out of a situation such as his and make some pretty awesome lemonade out of life, can't we all?

I know God has given us all gifts. What are we doing with them? Are we doing everything we can? If not, what is keeping us from realizing our full potential? Jim and his inspirational story helped me to realize; it can be hard to find the road blocks when they are mostly in our minds.

Dear God, please help us all to jump into life with thankful hearts for everything we've been given. Help us to be strong, humble and hope filled. Help us to realize what we are here for and to do it all to the best of our ability.

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