Have you ever stopped to think about how insignificant a single person really is? I try not to dwell on it, but occasionally, it hits me–I am just one of the 7.4 billion people who currently live on the earth. When I think of it like that, I feel pretty small. It makes me wonder: Is an individual life as insignificant as it seems? Can a single person really have an impact on the world around them? Is there a way to fulfill the innate desire that humans seem to possess to somehow make a difference in the world?
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to speak at a physical therapy school. It’s not the first time I’ve spoken to a medically focused group, but it’s always an interesting experience. I was asked to share the story of my 2014 accident and the details of my recovery. The students seemed genuinely interested and excited about the prospect of someday having the opportunity to help someone like me recover. I focused on the medical and physical part of my recovery, sharing with them the miracles of modern medicine and the power of their chosen profession in helping people heal. The presentation lasted for a little over an hour–but I could have continued talking for several more.
As I walked away from the campus that day, I thought about all of the challenges I’ve endured during the past decade. The list is quite long. But more important than the challenges are the lessons I’ve learned and the strength I’ve developed as a result of the adversity I’ve endured. They are endless. There have been many ‘aha’ moments when I’ve suddenly understood something important. Often, those epiphanies have brought clarity and peace to other seemingly senseless situations. There have been lessons that were dripped to me over weeks, months, and even years of suffering. This schooling continues today, and will most likely go through the end of my life.
What I know is that my life has been forever changed by the adversity I’ve endured and the discipline required to come through those experiences refined, rather than ravaged.
For most of my life, I’ve had a desire to use my own experiences to educate and lift others in their trials. I haven’t always known how to accomplish that, however. I’m not a gifted surgeon who can repair the body and give back life to a severely injured patient. I’m not a wealthy philanthropist who can donate large amounts of money to worthy causes. I’m not an ecclesiastical leader, helping parishioners find God. I’m not a teacher or professor with knowledge to share with impressionable minds. I’m not a scientist or a philosopher ready to change the world with my latest discovery. And I don’t have any fancy degrees or specialized certifications that would make people want to respect my opinions.
In reality, I’m a nobody–just one of 7,346,235,000 people on the planet.
But what I’ve realized through my experiences, is that I do have unique experiences and ways of dealing with the challenges in my life. I do have knowledge gained through life that I never could have received in a classroom. And I have a love for people and compassion for their trials. So perhaps it is simply through sharing myself and my story that I can make a difference.
I can speak of healing from major physical injuries and illness.
I can speak of the patience, perseverance, and determination required to relearn basic everyday tasks.
I can speak as the daughter of a gay man and the mother of a transgender child.
I can as a parent, fighting to keep my family close together while adjusting to the challenges of different beliefs and lifestyles.
I can speak to the darkness and despair caused by depression and my own journey out of that black hole.
I can speak as the victim of abuse who has learned to love and forgive those who hurt me.
I can speak as the wife of a porn addict–and the grit it takes to overcome the effects of addiction in marriage.
My life has been full of opportunities for growth, and while I haven’t always done things gracefully, I’ve made it through the challenges and I’m a better person for it.
My book, SEVERED: A Memoir of Hope and Healing, speaks about many of these trials. Although my name stands alone on the cover, it encompasses the stories of many people and the lessons I’ve learned as we’ve worked things out together. I appreciate their willingness to allow me to share these stories of hope and healing with the world.
I believe each of us has a purpose greater than ourselves. We are all here for a reason. Our lives are significant. We may only be one in 7.4 billion, but that doesn’t diminish our worth within our own sphere of influence. Our reach may seem insignificant when compared to the vast population of the earth, but if each one of us could make a difference in just one life, then we will have made the world a better place.
That’s my goal. I challenge you to join me in making a difference in your family, your community, your world. Together, we can reach out and touch the lives of many of the 7.4 billion people on the earth.
Interested in scheduling me to speak for your organization or event? Use the contact form on my website or this link.