Sunday, November 22, 2009

23 Years Ago Today

Twenty-three years ago today, my life was forever changed. Twenty-three years ago today, I awoke from a deep sleep to the sound of crunching metal sliding across the ground. Twenty-three years ago today, I faced the hardest moment in my young life. I've written all about that before. Today, I'm writing about something different. Today, I'm writing about, well, today.

Over the years since my accident I have let most of the "anniversaries" pass by virtually unnoticed. I'd remember them a few days before or in the wee hours of the morning on the day, but then, most years, I'd forget about it. Not this year. This year it's been on my mind a lot. This year it's been different. This year everything has been...different. This year it's hit me

I don't know why everything has been so different. Oh, I know some things, but I'm not going to post those in a blog. They're personal. They matter to the "why", but they're more a part of the difference than a cause for the difference.

I think one of the biggest reasons for the difference is that I was 23 years old 23 years ago. This is the "magic" year. This is the year when I pass the halfway point...the point where I will have been a quadriplegic longer than I was able-bodied. I'm not quite to the exact point, yet. I'm still a few months away from that, factoring in my exact age in years, months & days like the good little numbers freak that I am. But this is the day the years add up. Twenty-three years ago today I was a 23-year-old who suddenly found her life forever altered.

And today, it's really hard. Today, I'm really over it. Today I'm really tired of being paralyzed.

As I said, I don't know why it's so hard. Is it because of the number of years, or the fact that I've grown so much weaker (physically), or that I'm facing "mid-life" with all it's own issues, or those personal issues I won't explain, or that I missed out on having my own children, or that my parents didn't live to see me healed, or that I can't take care of my husband & home like a "good wife", or the fact that it's a cold, dreary, rainy day today? Is it the fact that I got a real understanding...a revelation...a "picture" of the cross this week like never before...that God showed me what it really meant for me?

Is it all of those? Is it non of them? I just don't know. I just know that, for the first time in a long time, I'm really over it. I hate it! I want it to stop! I want my healing, & I want it NOW! She, with the great attitude...with tons of faith...with an indefinable joy...IS DONE!

[PLEASE NOTE: It's important that you know that it has been about 20 minutes since I typed that last line above.]

Oh, Lord, you know my needs before they happen & You meet every single one!

Here I was having a perfectly good pity-party & what happens? God sends in...a kitty! That's right! While I'm trying to pour out my pain to the world, He puts up a road block in the form of a fluffy, sweet, needy furball! The kitty that almost never comes in my office or gets on my desk just jumped up, laid down & sprawled all over my keyboard! I had no choice but to stop writing! I tried pushing her away, but to no avail. She just flipped upside down, put on her most adorable look & demanded attention. Those of you who aren't "cat people" might not understand, but when a cat wants attention, a cat gets attention...or else. So I was forced to stop writing. And when I looked into the eyes of my adorable fluffball - eyes so filled with unconditional love - all of my self-pity just faded away. God knew, in that moment, I needed to be reminded that I am needed...I am important...I do serve a purpose...I can do some things. It may only be to be the "mommy" of a silly little kitty, but even as a quadriplegic, I do that job better than anyone on Earth.

No, my life isn't perfect & it's certainly not easy, but at least I'm alive! Twenty-three years ago today, my life was forever altered. Twenty-three years ago today, I learned what it meant to be truly thankful to be alive. Twenty-three years ago today I learned that I am truly loved. Twenty-three years ago today I began the journey that would prove to me that God had made me more than able through Christ Jesus...the journey that would teach me what is really important in life. It's not about what you do or don't have, or what you can or can't do. It's about what you do with what you do have. It's about what you make out of the cards you're dealt. It's about the hearts you touch & the lives you impact for good. It's about love.

Twenty-three years ago today I began the journey that would teach me the most important lesson in's not about me. Yes, our individual needs are important, but it's only when we lay ourselves aside - when we sacrifice & surrender - that we every find true joy.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Each of us will face this crossroads once or more than once in our lives. Each of us will, at some point, have to decide if we will let our trials drive us into selfishness away from God, or do their work & draw us to The One "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Eph. 20:3) It is my hope & prayer that when you find yourself at that crossroads you will remember me & all that I struggle with everyday. That you will remember that, while my life is far from easy, I still find joy...I still give thanks. It is my hope & prayer that, in those moments, you will say, "If she can do it, I can, too. I surrender, Lord & I trust you." If that happens, then I know my life...the lessons I've learned from these twenty-three years...has had meaning. That stupid accident & all my suffering will not have been in vain.

Twenty-three years ago was raining then, too.