"Miracles are never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith...they are the natural result of the Messiah's presence among men."
Bible Dictionary

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Broken Things

I'm just a few days away from the six year mark of the onset of my paralysis. I'm not much of a poet, but I thought I'd try to express some of the unique emotions and difficulties I go through.

Broken Things

If I wasn't broken, I wouldn't sit when others stood.
If others ran and jumped and played, I'd join them in the fray.

If I wasn't broken, I'd be strong and tall and sleek.
My muscles wouldn't atrophy, I wouldn't be so weak.

If I wasn't broken, I'd do things on my own.
I wouldn't need another's hands, or Siri on my phone.

If I wasn't broken, I wouldn't shiver in the spring.
The summer wouldn't burn me up; the winter wouldn't sting.

If I wasn't broken, my body wouldn't jerk.
Pain wouldn't keep me up at night, nor interrupt my work.

If I wasn't broken, I wouldn't be depressed.
When all my peers go do the things that give life that special zest.

Metal bars around a lion, a bird with crumpled wings.
There's a certain savage sadness to a soul that cannot spring.

Of all the other people, are there any quite like me?
Their lives are free and fun and real, while mine much burdened be.

But though their lives seem easy, I know that underneath,
lie pains and hurts and nasty things that they would like to sheath.

For are we all not broken? We've wandered far from home.
Through times of trial, pain and sin, often do we roam.

But broken things can mend themselves, and learn to live again.
Resilient courage is ours to claim, as broken, mortal men.

And since we all are broken, each can sing their song.
Different parts that harmonize, in heaven's eternal throng.
(Credit: Elder Holland)

My life is tough to say the least, but somehow things work out.
Miracles have buoyed me up, and wiped away my doubt.

Christ my Savior ransoms me, when it's more than I can bear.
For trials can be overcome with fervent, humble prayer.

And though I'm pretty broken, there's wheat among my tares.
I've every blessing that I need...plus a wheelchair.

I love this picture. Not only because the paralyzed man is me, but because of the incredible faith he's showing by attempting to reach the Savior. The man can't move, but he embarks on a risky and dangerous undertaking, trusting that Christ will help him succeed. If there was no miracle at the end of his descent, he would have been stuck on the ground, unable to move and surrounded by strangers. Furthermore, being raised back up on the litter would likely be an unstable contest against the unforgiving jaws of gravity. What an example of faith in the Savior amidst fear and trials! 

There are no days off of paralysis. For the past six years I've been trapped in a body that is not only unable to do things that life necessitates, but is barely able to move at all. But as the years have passed, I've gotten used to it. I've figured out how to get by with the little function I have, and carved out a small place in the world that I know I can be successful in. Most of the time, I'm content with that. Happy even. But sometimes, when it seems like the sun is shining for everyone but me, the weight of what I've lost comes crashing down. It can be a disparaging, crippling burden. My life is not glamorous. It can be frustrating. Humiliating. Disappointing. But it's still my life, and I'm still me. My trials are numerous, and the forecast says they're going to be around for awhile yet. But I know how cope with them and find peace and happiness in the small things of life.

I've heard some people say that they've accepted their injuries and disabilities to the point that they wouldn't go back and change themselves if they could. That's not me. I'll probably never get to that point. Honestly all the trials of my particular injury are just too severe. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up. I'll be graduating soon with a Masters degree in an exciting field (for me at least!) with exciting career prospects. There's still plenty for me to achieve in life! I know there will be more difficult times ahead for me but in some ways, that's just life and I'm not so different from everyone else (even though I am). When those times come, I'll do what I've always done. Rely on my Savior, Jesus Christ. For although it often seems like no one understands the unique pains I experience, he does. Through the Atonement, Christ experienced all the afflictions and brutality of mortal life and can therefore alleviate my pain and make my burdens lighter. I know this is true. I've seen blessings and miracles in my life that can be explained in no other way.

I'll making a significant transition soon, from student to full-time employee. I'm not sure exactly how I'll be able to make things work and have the help I need to be successful, but I have confidence it will work out. I've made it this far! And whether it be one more year of paralysis, another six, or the rest of mortality, I know it will be okay. My Savior has a plan for me, and if I continue to trust in him, he won't let me fail.