In the aftermath of the car accident, I spent two seemingly endless weeks in the intensive care unit. At night, friends and family were kicked out at 10 PM, and I was left alone flat on my back to stare at the ceiling. I was frequently unable to sleep due to the fact that I had a neck brace endlessly agitating me, I was battling hallucinations, and I had no idea what was in store next. (Having a ventilator tube in my neck and unable to move anything below my shoulders may have added to some of the problem.) I desperately wished that I would just fall asleep and wake back up in my fraternity bedroom like I did the morning of November 20, 2009, as if this was all a dream.
However, the fearful, anxious, angst filled nights came to a halt with the arrival of a nurse’s aide named Ashley. Even though I could do nothing more than mouth words, she stayed by my side at night discussing sports with me, encouraging me with Bible verses, and praying over me. She even replaced the Jason Aldean country music CD that was lost with my totaled car.
It was not until two years later when I found her email address written on that CD that I was able to shoot her a thank you for her investment of time. However, even given the opportunity to contact her, I realized I would I never be able to fully relay how impactful and meaningful her investment in my life was. The funny thing about it is, I barely know a thing about that nurse’s aide regarding her life story or even remember what she looks like. Truth be told, she probably wasn’t even there as often as it had seemed since she more than likely only worked a few days week. Yet, I will never forget her for the rest of my life.
In this TED Talk, “Leading with Lollipops,” Drew Dudley tells a story that demonstrates how we often underestimate our own ability to change the course of someone else’s life:
I often wonder how I can emulate this concept in my own life for others. Sometimes, the fact that I am not currently able bodied and am so dependent on others for my every need evokes the lie that I cannot do much to help or impact the lives of those around me. However, I would bet that every single person has something that fogs their vision as to the immense difference they can make or have made in the life of another person. Going straight to the Bible reveals how little our worldly standards and assumed criteria have to do with the ability to make an impact. David had an affair, Jonah ran from God, Thomas was a doubter, Peter and John were uneducated, Paul was a murderer, and yet, God still used them to make a huge difference in the lives of others.
While the goals behind beginning a blog were multifaceted, if one person finds encouragement, inspiration, or motivation from the way God has moved in my life over the past four years, then my weekly writing can be deemed a success. As Sister Mary Rose McGeady said, “There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.” (That’s right. I just quoted a nun.) While my physical dependence may feel like an obstacle at times, thanks to Ashley’s example and Dudley’s explanation in the video, I realize a big title, a flawless record, or even functioning arms and legs are not prerequisites for making a difference. From now on I want to notice, reach out, and express my gratitude for those seemingly insignificant acts of others that impact my life, while also remaining conscious that I am fully capable of doing the same for those around me.