My family spent Sunday with Todd, our friend who suffered a traumatic neck injury this summer while in Hawaii. Todd continues to make remarkable progress. I'm not surprised, because he's a remarkable man.
I'd like to think that if faced with similar circumstances, I would be as positive as Todd. But in reality, it would be very easy to go down the other road - the path of depression, what if's, frustration and anger.
Todd doesn't think that way. This is a man who has had the most basic of human functions taken from him. He cannot feed or dress himself, and he has to rely on others to scratch an itch on his face, or change the channel on the television. His wife puts him to bed at night and gets him up in the morning. He endures several hours of painful physical therapy every day, and long stretches of time when he has nothing to do but sit in his wheelchair and think.
Yet I have never met anyone with more love for life, and a bigger smile on his face. I asked him if he ever has dark days. He thought about it for a few seconds and replied, "no dark days, only dark moments. And then I snap myself out of it, because things could be a lot worse".
We've been friends with Todd for a long time, so I knew he would understand when I laughed and asked him HOW things could be worse. He told us a story.
Last week, Todd and his wife Tammi went to Harborview Hospital in Seattle for a doctor's appointment. It was a miserably cold and rainy day, and traffic was terrible. By the time they finally arrived, he was freezing, tired and DONE. He knew that an uncomfortable medical procedure awaited him, so he sat in the waiting room feeling grumpy and miserable. Just then a cheerful man wheeled in and checked in for his appointment. As he turned around, Todd realized the man had no feet and just one arm. Todd looked down at his own arms and legs, and he thought, "they might not work right now, but I'm lucky to have them". And just like that, his smile was back.
Todd plans to take his first step by New Year's. Six weeks from now. It's not even up for discussion that it won't happen. He told us today that the only way he can take that step is if he believes he will. I know I believe, and I can't wait to see it.
As we drove home, I thought about Todd's story. Not only do I have both arms and legs, but they do everything I want them to. I can feed and dress myself, and nobody has to put me to bed. But maybe I need to spend a little more time thinking.
This accident has made Todd a better human being. He was already pretty great, but now he's truly inspirational. He doesn't know what his purpose is yet, but I imagine he thinks about it a lot.
And I hope that today I will be a better human being. And the day after that, and the one after that...
Linking with Motivation Monday