All of us experience delays, detours, and roadblocks that frustrate our plans. We may be tested and challenged over and over again, but sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we planned or even hoped they would.
In my life, I’ve had a lot of successes, and I’ve also had a lot of losses that have tested my patience and perseverance.
In 1973 I suffered a severe logging accident resulting in three open skull fractures, a ruptured spinal cord in three places that was classified as an incomplete break, 11 ruptured discs, 16 broken and/or crushed vertebrae, a broken pelvis, the right scapula broken in nine pieces, a severed brachial plexus, and 19 broken bones, which included all of my ribs on the right side and several on the left side.
Some of my darkest moments were during this journey of recovery, acceptance, and rebuilding my life. Unable to work and confined to a wheelchair for 27 months, I lost everything; so when I finally returned home, I decided to start painting and was able to make a small income by selling my work in town on the street corner on weekends. It was a very painful time, yet I was filled with unstoppable determination to succeed in a way that most people wouldn’t attempt.
One night while reading the paper, I saw a job listing for a truck to haul chips. A friend drove me to the mill office; but the owner laughed and asked me how I was going to drive a truck while in a wheelchair. I told him that if he equipped the truck with hand controls, I could drive it.
After proving my ability, I was hired. I was amazed by how a feeling of wholeness started to come over me because I was working again. My focus quickly turned to providing a better life for myself and my family.
Each time I’ve been confronted with difficult times, I find it easier to look for the positive within the challenge. So much in life comes down to how we choose to act and react in every situation. We can let problems defeat us; or we can learn and grow, find hope and happiness, as we light the fire within and begin to live with passion.
Let’s celebrate life—each high of great success, each low of crushing loss—and gain wisdom and knowledge with every moment as we strive.
D Gary Young, in The Essential Edge, March 2017