broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Monday, July 24, 2006


Fellow travelers,

I appreciate feedback from readers – this one came about a week ago and I have been formulating an answer ever since. It went like this: “Dwight, you always seem so ‘up’. Are you always ‘up’ or is that just what you show us on the blog? Really, no one can be that ‘up’ all the time, can they?”

My first thought was “Wow, that’s brutal!” But then I got to thinking about it and I began to understand where the questions – and the emotions - were coming from. When people hurt they go through an amazing transformation from what they used to consider ‘normal’ into something they would love to run from but can’t. If you were caught of guard, like I was, then these changes are literally thrust on you all at once, and they can be hard to take, even years later.

I have a new friend who is blind and has been since birth. He is heard, every once in a while, saying “OK, I’m tired of being blind. So I quit! Whatever lesson I was supposed to learn I think I’ve learned it - so, can I go back to normal now?” He has such a good humor about it and is such a card the rest of the time you aren’t entirely certain if he’s being honest or just joking – but I think it might be some of both. Broken is a pain in the neck, and there’s no reason to deny that fact.

And please, I do not EVER want you to think that I am minimizing your brokenness. I would never insult you that way. But let’s be real for a minute. If you are hurting, or disabled, or broken in some other way, it does us no good to simply bemoan our plight over and over and over again. I refuse to fall into the universal pity party and ignore the hundreds – yea, thousands - of broken people making a substantial and significant contribution to society. I know people who could have quit, who had every reason to sit still and wait to die, but instead are making an impact on their world in ways that astound and impress. And quite frankly, I want to be one of THOSE people!

To be fair, I am a positive guy by nature, so, yes, I am ‘up’ more than I am down. I also believe that what I write is very honest and authentic. But I don’t rely on my nature to keep me ‘up’. Rather I read good books, work hard at my music, tinker in the workshop when the weather allows, write something every day whether it gets published or not, and CHOOSE to be positive about life.

And that is the bottom line, isn’t it? How we approach life is a CHOICE. I can play the victim and bemoan my situation, or I can grab myself by the scruff and the neck and change my situation. I can fuss about how much this brokenness has taken from my life or I can get up and get going and do whatever I can with whatever is left. It is a choice, and to NOT choose is still a choice – the wrong one!

And no, this isn’t an easy choice all the time. There are days when the pain wins, and I sit sometimes for hours and just weep because it hurts so badly and I’ve already taken all the drugs I’m allowed to take. Thank God that doesn’t happen much, but it does happen and I have to recognize that life isn’t always going to be a bowl of cherries – sometimes it’s just the pits in a broken shard of pottery.

But successful living is not judged by how many times you are knocked down, but by how many times you get back up. Some folks are fortunate that life only knocks them down a time or two. But if you are reading this you might be saying “Life has knocked ME down a hundred times and I’m tired.” OK, rest while you are down there – shucks, you’re horizontal anyhow so you may as well take a nap. But then get up the one hundred and first time and refuse to play “poor pitiful me”.

So, to answer the reader who asked, yes, I choose to be ‘up’ most of the time. I choose to write about how to get back ‘up’ - about how to fight and win. I choose to encourage you to strive and push and struggle and wrestle with your brokenness and sometimes even come out on top of it all.

One of my heroes: Franklin Roosevelt. No, I was born after he was gone so all I have is books. And I don’t know much about his politics. But this man ran a country, brought it out of the Great Depression, fought a war, formed successful international alliances, made the peace, and changed the world from a wheelchair! From my wheelchair I want to be like him – I want to make an impact that makes a difference.

So, yea, I’m ‘up’ and intend to stay that way.



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