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Wednesday, November 10, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 57

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Turning something bad into good

By Wendy Miller

I was asked questions last week that I found hard to answer: How would you describe your life in terms of before-accident and after? Have you changed?

At first thought, I envisioned a chronological tale of my life: pre-injury to the present. I then did a 360 and decided that it was not a fair inquest.

First of all, the assumption cannot be made that my life's events can be neatly labeled as "now" and "then."

Everything that has happened to me has made me who I am. So, I accept the good with the bad, and then onward I trudge.

Second, the change question is a given. Everyone's life alters moment-to-moment.

Of course, few are put on the spot to dwell on the meaning of their life.

Of course, there is a deeper reason why I will not tell my story in the "one day, I was walking, and now I am not" format.

If I isolate that tiny part of my entire being, then I might inspire what I do not want most.

If I evoke pity in just one person reading these words, then I have squelched one of the goals that helps me survive.

There is a reason for what happened to me. Of course, it took me months (and months) of screaming at the sky to realize it.

I now take pride in the belief that I belong to a certain grand design.

I have been to hell and back, and I am still alive. There must be something expected of me, and I cannot wait to find out what it is.

Most seem to have a pre-conceived idea of what constitutes a "good life."

I understand that there are some people who view spending their days in a wheelchair as unthinkable.

They erroneously believe that they could not go through life as a non-walker. My advice is: "never say never."

No one can predict the strength that one will discover when faced with a demon. I even surprised myself.

What is on people's minds when they see a person in a wheelchair? Is the chair all that is seen?

If someone wants to know about the stranger in the chair, then I say that someone should look at the stranger's face.

I guarantee that more answers will be found -- not by staring at the spokes of the stranger's wheels, but by looking the stranger in the eyes.

It comes down to the hard fact that my life has been normal (if there really is such a thing as a normal life). I can name both ups and downs, as well as celebrations and tears.

Most will never endure the pleasure of a halo, but everyone has their individual crosses to carry.

I have chosen what some consider to be a cliché for a positive outlook on living, but it is my own. I value it.

I hug the wonderful collage of experiences and I always find the courage to face another day.

I guess that is the only black and white difference in my personality. I took a lot for granted then. Victories are much sweeter now.

Most of us are not born with strength in one hand and courage in the other.

I believe that heroes are made by confronting (and overcoming) life's adversities -- even if it means sitting down to do it.


 
Miller, a junior philosophy major,
can be reached at laurana@ev1.net.
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