Seven years ago today Dr. Liar changed the course of my life in a matter of seconds when he hit my spinal cord during what should have been a routine surgery to repair a herniated disc. And while I have done a lot of complaining and whining since that time, on the ‘anniversary’ of my injury, I am doing things differently. This year I am writing about the things I have learned since I woke up in the recovery room and realized something wasn’t quite right. Good, bad or indifferent…it has taken me seven years to see the positive side of this life-altering event. While I will most likely live with the physical pain and many of the emotional scars still remain, there are parts of my pre-injured life I miss. However, I have made peace with what occurred and realize I may not have learned the following things if my life had not ventured off course. Therefore, today, with gratitude, I thank God for teaching me these lessons and for bearing with me during the times I questioned my faith, His plans and the thousands of times I asked why me.
The following are in no particular order and many I have written more extensively about in previous posts. If so, I have included the title and date of the post. Since this is the seventh ‘anniversary’ of my injury…I have included seven lessons although I could have written many, many more.
–“Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.” Melody Beattie. This lovely quote came from a dear friend from high school and has stuck with me. I thought when I woke from surgery and couldn’t feel my right side my life was over. What took a long time for me to learn is God had other plans. I wasn’t supposed to be going to an office each day. It was God’s plan to slow down my life, learn to appreciate each day and to help others. On February 8, 2011, I created and posted my first blog. It wasn’t an idea I had given a lot of thought. It was one of those ‘things’ that came to me and didn’t leave me alone until I followed though. I like to think of it as a whisper from God. However, what I thought was going to be mostly therapeutic for me has ended up helping others as well and at the same time I have met some wonderful new friends, learned more about spinal cord injury and has far exceeded numbers for a blog. In fact, I am exploring my options of turning it into an electronic book later this year thanks to you, the readers. A Year of Blogging: Helping Others and Me, Posted February, 1, 2012.
–“Just because you are hurt doesn’t mean you are broken.” Dolphin Tail. Little did I know a book and a movie about a dolphin would teach me so much about my injury and about life. Many of us walk around with injuries either physical or emotional and no one ever knows how far-reaching that pain extends. Whether pain shows or doesn’t, it pays to be kind to one another. There is a wonderful song by Sawyer Brown, They Don’t Understand, the chorus is “Everybody’s busy with their own situation, Everybody’s lost in their own little world, Bottled up, hurry it up, trying to make a dream come true, (They don’t understand), Everybody’s living like there ain’t no tomorrow, Maybe we should stop and take a little time, ‘Cause you never really know what your neighbor’s going through. A terrific song — one worth listening to or downloading to your iPod. Hurt, But Not Broken, Posted September 11, 2011; A ‘Tail’ of Healing, Posted January 23, 2012.
—“If we would just slow down, happiness would catch up to us.” Richard Carlson. I have found this quote to be true especially during these past few years. I have found myself slowing down and enjoying the little things in life — those moments that don’t cost anything and often go by in a blink. For example, the way my husband looks at me from across the room and gives a little wink or a smile, how blue my daughter’s eyes really are, the birds on our feeders outside, our two dogs sleeping so contentedly, flowers blooming, watching the sun set, listening to nature, or laughing so hard it makes my side hurt or I almost cry. The small simple pleasures that are missed because the television or the computer is always on or because we get so caught up in the muck of our daily lives. I know I was there — in the middle of the rat race — and I have to admit I don’t miss it. What I should have been asking myself was I working to live or living to work? An Hour to Live, Posted June 8, 2012.
–“The key to a good life is this: If you’re not going to talk about something during the last hour of your life, then don’t make it a top priority during your lifetime.” Richard Carlson. I fell in love with Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series of books in the 1990’s and knew his work would impact my life at some point. What I didn’t know is it would be 14 years later. I bought every book he published until the year 2000 and highlighted them to the point where the pages resemble rainbows. I also purchased his audio books since I was commuting to New Jersey. He recorded his own material and I enjoyed his voice — he felt like a friend. Sadly, a year following my injury, I learned he had passed away suddenly while on a book tour. Just recently I read one of his newer books, If You Had An Hour to Live, co-authored with his wife. I can honestly say this book changed my way of thinking. I will forever be grateful to both Richard and Kristine Carlson for sharing their knowledge and love with the world and for impacting my life in such a profound way. Simply put, why waste time on anything during your lifetime if it’s not important enough to be doing it during the last hour of your life. Good stuff. An Hour to Live, Posted June 8, 2012.
–“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite naming my blog My Unplanned Life since who really knows how their life is going to pan out. However, what I do know is I had to let go of what I thought I wanted in my life and let God do what he wanted. What I have learned is that the miracle isn’t the life that I have missed out on — it’s the life I’ve got right now. Living, Loving, Losing, Posted August 22, 2011; I Get What I Need, Posted January 1, 2012.
— I have come to the conclusion life is all about balancing. The good and the bad; the positive and the negative; counting your blessings. After all, I have said most of my adult life ‘every day is a good day — just some days are better!’ I Know We’re Gonna Make It!, Posted May 8, 2012
–“When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust Him fully, because only two things can happen; either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.” /“I don’t always get what I want — I get what I need.” Colin Raye. The first quote took me a long time to accept and quite honestly…to believe. However, once I allowed myself to fall, God was there and never left my side. The second quote are lyrics to the song “I Get What I Need” and certainly ring true about my conversations with God during the past few years. I now keep these lyrics with me as a reminder of who is really in charge. I also learned during the past seven years God will do what He wants on His timeline — not ours. In addition, we don’t always know what is best for us — only God does. Patience — something I needed to learn and did…thank goodness! I Get What I Need, January 1, 2012.
©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com. 2012.