So I was looking up at the stars tonight and it made me wonder. What would it be like if I was looking down on all of you now? If I had died in that crash. Would there’ve been some sort of legacy that I left behind? What would people remember me for? Did I do enough for my 1st 24 years to help people and make a big impact on their lives. I knew that looking down I would not of been satisfied. I did a lot but not enough. So in this 2nd chance at life I want to make sure that one day when I am staring down at all of you you will remember me for doing something great. For impacting your life in at least one way. I want to leave a legacy behind and I’m not going to do that without getting my voice heard. Because my voice is the most powerful thing that I have left.
Every night before I go to sleep I pray. I used to be bitter with God because the only thing I would pray for was to walk again. As time went on I started to realize that maybe that prayer would never be answered and maybe I should be praying for something different. There were already so many people praying for me to make a full recovery. Everyone promised me that it was going to happen. That this was just temporary. Even complete strangers would come up to me in a grocery store and pray that God would heal me. “Isn’t it great knowing that God is going to heal you and get you out of that chair one day?” they would say. “God has plans for you and it is not for you to be in that chair for the rest of your life,“ they would continue. I would never turn anyone away who would ask to pray for me. I thought I could use all the prayers I could get.
But today I pray differently. I stopped praying a long time ago about being able to walk again. I am no longer bitter with God. I have seen the purpose of my situation and today I embrace that. I pray now that God can help me to continue to see my purpose and to allow me to help and reach as many people as I can. I also always pray to keep my family and friends safe as well as thank him for keeping them safe. Those are the prayers that I have seen being answered. So many people have told me that I have affected their lives and that makes life worth living. That’s not something I would hear very much before my accident. I love being able to have a positive effect on the lives of others despite my situation. And I know that as I continue to keep writing and to keep pushing myself it would just put a bigger smile on my face knowing that I made a difference.
I never thought that my life would become a constant struggle. But that struggle has taught me a great deal and has allowed me to help others struggling through different situations. So maybe my struggles are worth it and every day I try to tell myself that. I no longer complain about my situation. When people ask to pray for me I make sure they understand that my life is not over and maybe it has just begun. I tell them now I have an incredible story and that I’m writing a book and doing public speaking and that I think it is all part of God’s plan for me. After this they usually no longer pray for me to get up out of my chair but they pray that God will use me for the purpose of changing lives.
The prayers are working. During the last 2 weeks I’ve given 2 speeches where I share my story. The response, reactions, and evaluations that I have been given have all been extremely positive. Yesterday I thought was the best speech I have given so far and I knew that because I spent about a half-hour answering questions. Then at the end many people came up to me to individually thank me for sharing my story. One girl said that she has bipolar disorder and that she had never heard anybody speak out about it and that she was very grateful that I did. I love to speak about my experiences. Knowing that I changed just one life that day makes it all worth it. But to have the entire audience evaluate me and say how much they’ve taken away from my story puts the biggest smile on my face. I can’t wait to share my entire story with the world when my book gets published.
I still believe that even though I am paralyzed and I lost so much that I’m truly blessed. There are many things worst that could have happened. I could’ve killed somebody in my crash and I would be looked at as a murderer for the rest of my life. I would rather be paralyzed than to lose a family member or close friend. I am so lucky to have access to the incredible therapy that I do here at Ohio State. I am also incredibly lucky to be able to live here at Creative Living independently and to resume my life in Columbus. I’m so thankful for the help I receive from my aides and my nurse. I could not ask for better people to take care of me.
I have not cried once this year while last year I would do it on a daily basis. I have realized my purpose in life and I must focus on that whenever I start to feel down. Thank you for all the prayers that have helped me to realize my next step in life. A year ago I never thought I would be were I am at now. I have to say that I am so incredibly proud of myself for what I have done in less than 2 years. I do not want you to ever feel bad for me for what has happened to me. Just embrace the fact that I’m still here and that I’m still myself. I could be an incredibly bitter and different person than I was before my accident. But I still am the same person that I was 2 years ago and actually I think I am better than I used to be. Only God knows what the future holds for me but I feel like he has huge plans for me. He kept me alive for a reason didn’t he? I will not let my 2nd chance go to waste and one day when I stare down from heaven I will smile knowing that I did everything I could to make meaning out of tragedy.