Some of you have asked. So here it is. Here is the car that smashed through my home in 1981. The driver’s name is Dean Charles. He is dead now. Not from this crash. But because he lived a toxic lifestyle which eventually killed him. My bed was against the wall he plowed through in a drunken stupor. To give you perspective … I was barely 4 years old and weighed about 30 pounds. He was traveling way too fast. I was sound asleep. Innocent. A toddler. He did not go to jail because his daddy pulled some strings. And we did not get a penny from that crash. I spent my entire childhood in and out of Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. I say all of this to remind you, life is not fair. It is hard. And sometimes, it downright stinks. The challenges we all face are massive. I remember spending holidays in a hospital bed and pulling out chunks of my hair because I had no idea at that age how to cope with the intense pain. I remember throwing up after every operation from the morphine and struggling to come out of the foggy daze associated with it. I remember my elbows bleeding and scabbing over because I was forced to crawl on them when my legs would not move. I remember the first time I was old enough to realize the scope of my scars and how deformed my left knee appeared.
I also remember the most amazing male nurse I had, Tom, and how he would make me belly laugh from his impersonations of Donald Duck. I remember the best surgeon, Dr. Scoles, who saved my legs and swore to me, that I would be o.k. eventually. I remember the bowls overflowing with my favorite bubble gum in my hospital room and thousands of cards from strangers coming in each year. I remember Robin Williams coming to the hospital to put on a free comedy show for all of the children. I remember my hospital roommate, Adrain, giving me the warmest hugs after our daily physical therapy. I remember an Amish family, who did not believe in modern medicine, still bringing their daughter Mable to the hospital, because they believed in her. I remember so much love. In the midst of so much pain, I remember even more love.
This note is for those of you feeling sorry for yourself. Maybe life has not worked out as you had envisioned it in your mind. Maybe you have been fired from a job. A spouse cheated on you. Maybe you have health issues or can’t seem to lose those extra pounds weighing you down. Someone has discriminated against you. It’s hard to make ends meet. Maybe no one listens to you. Or perhaps they listen, but still can’t see your pain. I wish I had the solution to fix every human problem. But I don’t. What I do have, is experience in surviving. And I am here to tell you, life is not fair. No one ever said it would be. You have got to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Let me say that again, you MUST stop feeling sorry for yourself. You are wasting too much energy. And too much time. Feeling sorry for yourself will not get that job back or fix your broken marriage. Feeling sorry for yourself will not cure your illness or take off that weight. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make haters go away and will not create disposable income. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make the pain any better. You have to fight through the pain. And the key to fighting through the pain, is to have a laser like focus on the good things in your life. Someone loves you. Someone admires you and you don’t even know it. Someone would trade your challenges with their hardships in one minute. You are alive. You can read. You are cherished by our Lord. You have many things to be grateful for. You just have to anchor your thoughts on the good things, because the bad things you can’t change. You can’t rewind the clock. I can’t take that car out of my bedroom. But I can spend every minute from 1981 on, only focusing on what I can control. There is absolutely no benefit from any of us feeling sorry for ourselves. None. Therefore this is an easy decision … accept that life is not fair and know that is just fine. Swallow that truth. And when you’ve fully digested it, memorize these words. Give attention to the good things in your life. Wrap yourself in the simple blessings. Relinquish the injustice you have experienced. Remember the love. There is plenty of it all around us. When you stop feeling sorry for yourself, you will find it. It will cover you up. I promise it will.