I Can Do Anything For 80 Years

October 22, 2009

Hospital Traction 1st Acc._2

I have been taught the importance of being positive from the youngest days of my life.  I don’t remember a time when having a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) wasn’t a regular part my parents instruction on the proper way to live a life.

Therefore, growing up, I tried to make a positive outlook a part of my life.  I tried to look at the glass half full, tried to see the best in those around me and tried to concentrate on the good and forget the bad.

Then at fifteen and a half, on the 13th of July 1986 my life changed in a second.

I went from a completely healthy young man in the best shape of my life to paralyzed from the chest down with only partial use of my arms and no use of my hands.

As difficult as that transition was, it was the first nights that were the most harrowing.  My lungs filled with mucus to the point where you could barely see any clear part of my lung on the x-ray.  My pulmonologist told me it was the worst case of pneumonia he had ever seen.

You didn’t have to have a medical degree to understand that my life was in the balance.  In those days, I had one wish.  It wasn’t to walk, it wasn’t to be accepted back at home, and it wasn’t to have a normal life-It was to live.

All I wanted was to wake up the next morning.

After a few days when I began to feel, not quite out of the woods, but on my way there, my dad came to the side of my bed and asked me if I felt like I could deal with life as a quadriplegic, I replied, “I can do anything for 80 years.” I was so grateful that I’d kept my life—everything seemed better.  Even paralysis seemed doable.

In the days since then, I’ve almost lost my life at least one other time.  And in those days, good or bad, I’ve tried to recall  that same feeling.  Whenever life gets difficult (as it often does) I try to remember that no matter how bad it gets, I still have my life.

Knowing that I am still breathing makes everything else challenging small in comparison.  It makes a real difference in my effort to live a happy life.  It is difficult to complain about the stumbling blocks when you find a way to remember that you are still around to stumble.

When things get hard, remember to love life.  Be grateful that you are still here.  Be glad that you have a chance to struggle and the negativity will be replaced with that Positive Mental Attitude I was taught so much about in my youth

Jh-


I Got My Five + Winner

December 18, 2008

First, congrats and an autographed DVD to Ali W. for her comment on hope.

I am filled with hope when I see the small random acts of kindness performed by everyday people…Their kindness and thought for others gives me hope that the future of mankind and the earth is a good one.

Now Today’s Post:

Five

Regardless of whether you are Christian or not, or even religious at all, everyone knows the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible. As the parable opens we find a man lying half dead on the side of the road. The first man to come by is a priest. In the social hierarchy of the day a priest is a man who would rank very high. The priest sees the man on the side of the road and understanding his predicament continues on his way.

The second man to come by is a Levite. This is also a man who has an extremely favorable social status. Much like the priest he sees the man in pain and does nothing.

The third and final man to come by is a Samaritan. This is a man who is looked down upon by nearly everybody. He has almost no social status at all. And yet, when this man passes by he makes a decision to act. He puts the half dead man on his animal and takes him to a local inn where he does everything he can to ensure that the man is taken care of, even to the point of making sure that if additional needs arise that they too will be cared for.

At the end of the story we are encouraged to, “Love our neighbor as ourselves.”

As morning comes and we prepare to face each day we think of the tasks that are at hand. We think of the “To Do” lists that we’ve put together and the things on that list that we need to have accomplished. We think of goals that we set for ourselves and what things we can do that day to come closer to achieving those goals. Regardless of whether our day holds large or small things to be done we think about how we can put together our day in such a way that those things can be finished.

We think about the fact that the electric bill needs to be paid and how milk needs to be picked up on the way home from work. We think about the lunch meeting we need to prepare for and how management wants our final report by the end of the day. We think about the activities our children have and how we can arrange for them to have a ride home.

But, in the midst of all this planning and preparation we do for our day do we take time to think about what we can do to help another. For the fact is, that every day as we travel through our tasks we will find people lying “half dead” on the side of the road who need us to take the time to bind their wounds.

Now the chances that we are going to find someone physically beaten are small. But, we will find people emotionally, psychologically and mentally wounded. We can, like the priest and the Levite just pass by hoping that someone else will take care of those in need. Or, we can decide to be like the Samaritan and realize that regardless of what our own status in life is we have a responsibility to care for those around us.

Think for a moment about what our world would look like today if as everyone woke up each day they made a conscious decision to do something to help five people. Think about the millions that would be helped if only a handful of people made that decision. Then think of the people you could influence if you made that decision. If you made the decision to accept this challenge for a week that would mean 35 people helped. If you made the decision to accept this challenge for a month it would mean 150 people influenced. And, if you made the decision to accept this challenge for a year, all on your own you would change the lives of 1,825 people.

The numbers beyond that becomes staggering, and if you begin to think about how your influence would influence others to pitch in and do their part the numbers become astronomical.

But, more than the numbers think about how this kind of help and this kind of influence would make you feel. Think about the difference that would come to your life if every night you could report, “I got my five.”

Jh-


To Protect and Serve

November 8, 2008

protect-and-serve

Driving around town the other day trying to get some things done I passed a police officer. For some reason I took special notice of the words that were placed on each door as well as the rear bumper. They read, “To protect and serve.” I thought about all the things that the men and women of the police force do to make sure their slogan “to protect and serve” is kept.

These thoughts turned from the officers to my parents. As they did, I  marveled at the sacrifices they have made to get me to where I am today.

I remembered being 15 lying in a hospital just hours from learning that my medical diagnosis was quadriplegia, and as far as the doctors were concerned I would never walk again. On that day, like so many after it, I looked into my parents eyes and knew that if there was anything they could do to better “protect and serve” me I need only ask for it. I knew in a way most 15-year-old boys never get to know that my mom and dad would do anything in their power to keep me safe and help me to grow.

Later, as I worked in a wheelchair to find my way in a world of stairs, I also learned that often in order to truly serve, they had to let me fall. That the greatest protection they could offer was the preparation that came from no protection at all. That the finest service they could give was teaching me to serve myself.

In addition, I watched as they worked hard not only “to protect and serve” my siblings and I, but our “neighbors” as well. Just like the officers who carry that credo with them, my parents taught us that we too have a responsibility “to protect and serve” those around us. From a young age I was instructed that if I saw suffering I had a duty to help to curb it. I learned that if any of us are ever to be truly protected or served we must police each other.

Thinking of my parents, my thoughts turned to this little boy waiting to come to my home. Like the police officer, all I want to do is “to protect and serve” him,

As I think about the life he has a waiting him, the adventures that will be his, and the world that he is being born into my first nature is to protect him and keep him safe. It seems as natural and instinct as “fight or flight.” He’s not even here, and I already consider often the things that I can do to keep him out of harm’s way.

My desire to serve him is just as strong. From that day when he was all of five weeks old and I heard his heartbeat, I knew that I would do anything I could to help him. I think of him often in my dreams and as I do I try to imagine ways that I might help him reach his ultimate potential. We have not even met and yet all that I have is his. If there is anything I own in this world that might help him achieve more, do more, or become more I will gladly give it to him. My soul aches to serve him.

I hope that I am strong enough to follow the examples of my parents. I hope that I serve him well enough that I teach him I cannot protect him from everything even if I wanted to. I hope that he grows up knowing that he has a responsibility to those around him. I hope he grows up safe and secure. Safe in the knowledge that his dad loves him and secure enough in who he is that he can rise each time he falls.

What I do know is this, he is mine and I am his. I know I will do my very best “to protect and serve” him in a way that prepares him for the struggles that lie ahead of him, and will work to help him know that understanding love means loving his neighbor as himself.

Jh-

Coleman Jason Hall when he was just 5 cells old.  (He's the cute one)

Coleman Jason Hall when he was just five cells old. (He's the cute one)


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