We all go through life thinking we have everything planned out and that nothing can change because we are in control of our lives. We have our group of friends, sports, and in our minds we are invincible. What if suddenly in a split second all of that changed? How would we deal with that? What would we do when we realize that we are no longer in control of what happens to us? What happens to that structure that we thought was so strong? I mean why would we think of these things, that would never happen to us. Well I thought the same thing until one day my life changed forever.
It all started as a normal day working on our farm. I was doing my job that I had done my whole life and in split second a stack of bales of hay fell on me and I was on the ground with multiple broken bones including my neck. The second that it took for the accident to happen changed my life forever. Before that day I was the popular guy, great at sports, worked hard, the guy all the girls wanted, and thought that I had everything figured out. I was never more wrong. What I didn’t expect was my social structure/foundation would be destroyed by the accident. All those that I thought were my friends no longer saw me as the same guy, but instead someone that was broken and foreign to them.
Obviously there’s more to the story of rehab and everything else after the accident, but how do you pick yourself up and move on when everything and everyone you knew suddenly comes crashing down? Where do you find that motivation and strength to continue to push yourself to get better when no one sees you as the person you were before and abandon you? Honestly, when something life changing happens, you find out who really cares about you because they are the ones who stay right by your side the whole time.
My family was the rock and foundation of me getting better, but my mom was really the person who got me through everything. She never once gave up on anything during the entire process. She was there every single day urging me to work hard and to not give up. Even on the worst day she would always say keep your head up and keep pushing forward because the only way to go from here is forward. Don’t look back, keep pushing forward and focus on what you can do from here on out. That mindset stuck with me ever since the beginning of my recovery. I’ve used that every single day because we can’t focus on the things we can’t change in life, but we can change what we become in the future.
I know no matter how bad it seems I have it in life someone else has it worse. If we keep focusing on the negative parts of our lives we forget to appreciate the things that we do have. Sometimes it is hard to stay positive, but then you see the effect it has on everyone else around you when you have a positive attitude and then it doesn’t seem so difficult. We find motivation in others and it comes in all forms. Whether it being an athlete, doctor, or even someone in a wheelchair. We can all make a difference in others if we give it a chance and put our minds to it. I like to use the saying, ”In order to see how far you’ve come, you have to look at where you started”. People will come and go in our lives, but it is up to us on whether or not we want to make a difference.
To this day people always see my wheelchair first and then the person. It makes it a lot harder to accomplish goals, but when you finally get people to see you for who you are it makes a difference now and to anyone else they see that is in a similar situation. Changing social views and norms don’t change overnight. They take time and persistence, but don’t let it stop you from being the person you want to be and be proud of.
I was 15 years old when I had my accident and I’m still trying to make a difference. I may have lost my friends back then, but life goes on and now have new ones who are actually there for me no matter what. At times it may seem like there is no escape and it will never get better, but if you can put that aside and believe that they will, I promise you one day it will seem like a distant bad memory. The power of faith, belief, hope and persistence create a positivity that can’t be denied forever. You just have to be willing to open your eyes and give it a chance.
By David Sparby