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SHELLY WARNER, August 15 2022


So often, many people struggle to find their purpose in life. We wonder if we are doing what we are meant to do. Are we on the right path? Are we or will we make a difference in the lives of others?  If this is you right now, we invite you to do something beyond your own immediate world. Put yourself outside of your comfort zone and engage with others who are in a deep struggle. Connect with Make-A-Wish foundation and read some stories about kids in a fight for their lives. Is there a way you can get involved and help somehow? Spend some time in the waiting room of a burn center and listen to families who are there for loved ones. Hear their stories and absorb the horror of what they have gone through. Consider that day when you show up and the place is packed with people, and you say to yourself: “What has happened that all these people are here? It is not usually like this.” Let the weight of that reality set in. Think to yourself: “How can I help?” Or “How can I make this moment a pivotal one to change my own life?”  

Meet that woman standing alone by the fence, watching her husband compete in the Southeastern Wheelchair Games. Ask her about her story. Who is she there for? Why are they there? Absorb the fact it is the first moment she has seen her husband, who was a state trooper and injured on the job, show some interest in anything in life in the past 3+ years. She tells you it is the first glimmer of light they have had since being in the depths of the black hole his accident put them in. Recognize by you being there, volunteering your time and taking just a moment to connect with a stranger could literally help change the trajectory of another’s life. And maybe even yours. Envision that same man, the one who was formally a state trooper and then suffered a TBI in an accident while assisting another on the side of the road. An accident which completely transformed his personality and left him so different from the man he once was. Now he is in an environment with the opportunity to try new experiences. He was once an athlete, so he is drawn to the sports he has the opportunity to try once again. Swimming captures his attention, and he can’t wait to get in the pool. He dives in and starts gliding through the water. He is a natural as the muscle memory takes over his body one stroke after another. He discovers he is so good at it he doesn’t want to get out of the pool. He has freedom once again! He signs up for multiple events in the swimming competition. He is so determined, focused and calm in this sport he feels like he could swim forever. And he would try to do that if it weren’t for people at each end of the pool flashing cards underwater to him to tell him what lap he is on and when to stop. Without them, he would continue swimming to complete exhaustion. Imagine what that must feel like. For him, who has been in a dark and lonely place for months, locked in his own mind, to now freedom of movement with others and the exhilaration of accomplishment. He is once again living in this world instead of just existing. And imagine what that means to his wife and family. To see him happy again, even if only for short periods of time. What does their future hold if they can grab onto that and continue to push through the darkness toward the light?

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