I was at at TJ Maxx and a man offered to help carry my purchases out to my car. Out of all the people to offer assistance, he shouldn't have been the one. He walked with a cane and a severe limp. His face had some scarring, but he had a very kind smile. He was very sweet and helped me with my things. He then told me how he had just been able to learn to walk again after having a bad accident in the garage. Somehow the coil that brought the garage door up and down had come off and cut into his face and skull. He had to learn to walk again, talk again, eat again, be human again.
You can always tell the ones who have gone through something so difficult that they were reborn a different person. Everyone has something difficult in their life, and everyone has their "vice" as I like to call it - that thing that just continues to haunt them or keep them up at night.
But not everyone will be given the gift of undeniable strength from having to dig so deep after being broken down. The strength that only comes when you have no other option than to rise above. The strength that comes from resisting the urge to ask "why?" and instead ask "what now?"
My favorite song to work out to begins with the line, "My mama told me, we get what we deserve". I used to get angry when I listened to that line, and would wonder what on earth did I do to deserve getting paralyzed. I may have broken a few hearts, but surely not bad enough to lose the use of my legs!
It was only after I had moved to Maui and I was listening to my song while rolling through the grass - which sounds like a walk in the park, however it's one of my more difficult workouts - that I realized what that line was supposed to mean to me.
If we get what we deserve, then on the flip side, what on earth did I do to deserve gaining an incredible strength not many people get to experience? Or strength aside, what about a new compassion for others or an ability to teach my son a strong sense of independence through my inability to "help" him in the traditional sense?
When I stop and really think about it, am I even worthy of such a gift? The blessings have seriously begun to outweigh the negatives, and my gratitude grows every day.
There is nothing but strength in our scars. If you think about it, after a bone breaks, scar tissue will build around the break as it heals, making it stronger than it was before, and impossible for the bone to break in the same place again. Our scars can strengthen us the same way as long as we allow them to.