​On a Role. . .

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on June 22, 2021 # Lifestyle

I recently read Chris Norton’s blog, “Susceptible to Miracles,” and watched the movie, “7 Yards,” about his injury and his determination to walk across the stage to receive his diploma. I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since. It resonated with me for many reasons: We share an attitude of optimism about our roles in life, about the influence that faith plays in how we fulfill those roles and that living our best life not only opens us up to failure but makes us available to appreciate the miracles in our life, the miracles of everyday life.

I thought about how we all have many roles to fulfill in life, with or without a spinal cord injury. The injury does not define who we are; we do that in our response to it. I am normally an optimistic person, but there are days . . . days when that is really difficult. I have to remind myself on those days that anger and depression are not the solutions; they become the obstacles. When we overcome those obstacles, we become open (or susceptible) to the many miracles that life has to offer us.

What is a miracle? To me, miracles are those special occurrences that reveal divine intervention in our lives that change us for the better. Miracles don’t come with the name stamped on top. But, rather, they surface, improve our lives, all the while blending in with the rest of our daily activities. Some people may not believe in miracles or a divine power that helps us in times of stress and distress; others would rather believe in coincidences. They may very well be coincidences, but to me, they are my miracles. Miracles are alive and well and helping us with the tests we all encounter throughout our lives.

My roles as a wife, mom, grandma (“Memaw”), sister, friend, co-worker, a person of faith, and lastly, a person who has a spinal cord injury keep my days both full and fulfilling. My life is very different from what I envisioned before my injury, but “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad.”

That’s not to say there weren’t adjustments to be made, or rough patches to be overcome; there certainly were. I agree with Chris’ philosophy of positivity and setting a goal even before you know how or if you will achieve it.

A spinal cord injury does change things. Of that, there is no doubt. My son was four years old when two spinal surgeries changed my life forever. But I attended his kindergarten graduation, Little League games, his middle school, high school and college graduations, his wedding and was able to go to the hospital to see each of my three granddaughters when they were born. I’ve also attended bridal showers, weddings and baby showers for family and friends. I work full-time at the Reeve Foundation, which I have done for more than nineteen years. My list is probably not too much different from other people’s lists; how I got to do each of these activities probably is.

I learned early on that planning ahead was not only a very good idea. It was a necessity. Calling ahead or scouting out the venues to make sure baseball fields, graduations, restaurants were accessible ensured that there were no major issues on the day of the event. With a little planning and a strong will to attend an event, it is possible to celebrate with family and friends.

Those are some of the miracles of everyday life woven into the multiple roles each of us fulfills each and every day. We just have to be open and receptive to them.

--By Donna Lowich, Senior Information Specialist, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. To contact an Information Specialist, call 800-539-7309 or go to www.ChristopherReeve.org/Ask.

7 Yards is featured on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90PRRC0002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.