Saturday, September 14, 2013

Finding the Beauty

I recently received an email from my friend Bill and forwarded it to many of my friends. I am going to discuss this man's perspective on being a quadriplegic. Hopefully after reading this man's story you can appreciate how I feel also. Please google the following: This is How It Feels To Be A Quadriplegic  I was unable to figure out how to create a direct link, my following post is based on the above mentioned article, please take the time to read his article first so that my comments below will make sense.

This article really struck a chord with me and understandably so. I hardly know where to begin, but first and foremost I must commend this man's courage and congratulate him on a most perceptibly accurate account of living life either unable to use existing limbs or having lost limbs due to amputation.

I realize that there are fundamental differences between this man, Jimmy Anderson, and myself. First and foremost he is paralyzed and I am an amputee, I still retain use of my arms and hands and he does not, and I have had my legs removed, he has not. There are also other differences in the way we arrived at our respective situations and a host of other things.

There are also a lot of similarities between our two different scenarios. I agree with Jimmy that my leg loss and his paralysis has made our world feel restrictive, unable to do the simplest of tasks or to participate in some of life's simplest pleasures. I still really miss walking on the beach, feeling the sand between my toes, I suppose I always will.

 Jimmy states in his article that the world is a series of obstacles and barriers, this is true. Before embarking on any type of outing, one must first "scope out" where one is going and how easily, accessible or inaccessible it is. If you are as lucky as I am, people who are close to you begin to observe these things for themselves, and then they also feel the pangs of inaccessibility and understand more fully the magnitude of your paralysis or limb loss.

Jimmy Anderson also states in his article, "This Is How It Feels To Be A Quadriplegic," that not being able to use your hands is even than the loss of mobility. Naturally, I have not had to suffer that devastating loss, and my heart aches for his loss. Having experience in monumental loss, I can more closely relate than someone who has never suffered that type of loss at all. Having said that,  it does not even begin to make me be able to comprehend how much worse it must be to not have the use of ANY of your limbs.

Those of you who know me, already realize how important and crucial my artwork has been to me with respect to helping me get through these leg losses and to even contemplate not being able to create my art is incomprehensible to me.The way that Jimmy Anderson expressed himself in his article made me rethink my situation with a greater appreciation for what I do still possess, it gave me a moment of pause, to really examine myself and reaffirm the thankfulness I feel when I able to maintain my autonomy.

As Jimmy was describing the news story about a quadriplegic man who committed suicide by driving his motorized  into a lake and drowning, it struck fear within him, that perhaps his life and his prospects would be so bleak he might contemplate the same thing. I must admit that even I after the loss of my first leg, imagined the possibility of losing my other leg with feelings of trepidation, fear and wondering whether I would have the wherewithal to continue living.

I think these feelings are not uncommon, what seems to occur in many instances, is that you seek and ultimately find the strength and courage to continue down your path to the best of your ability. Like so much in life, if we seek it out,  we can often find what it is we need to accomplish in our lives that might make life worth living. Fortunately for Jimmy Anderson and for the rest of the people of this world we were blessed with his wisdom and and inspired by his words to do the best that we can possibly do.

Not unlike Jimmy,  I too, have sought to bring hope and encouragement to others in my position. I always remember that old, adage  that goes something like this, "I used to complain about the holes in my shoes, until I saw a man with  no feet." I am now that man.

I agree with Jimmy Anderson, that I also seek to find beauty in this world and I find it everyday in the words and actions of people like Jimmy.

Thank You Jimmy for making this world a better place in which to live.

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