When people hear my story, they often comment about the incredible inner strength I must have had to endure the trauma. They tell me that I surely possess a superhuman ability to overcome incredible odds and persevere. The truth is, I am an average guy who has been through a horrifible event, and I just took the path that seemed the most logical.
After living through the tragedy and feeling all the emotions -- dismay, disillusionment and discouragement -- I came to the realization that I had but two choices: I could either crawl into my bedroom and never leave (and believe me, there were days when that was exactly what I wanted to do), or I could pick up the pieces of my life and move on.
What I am trying to convey is this; I believe most people, when they truly accept their limitations, can develop, or uncover from within themselves, an ability to overcome great odds. Superhero status is not a prerequisite. One does not have to possess indefatigable willpower or unshakeable motivation to succeed after a tragedy. With the proper tools and faith in God, most people can do it.
Several years ago, I listened to a book written by W. Mitchell entitled It's Not What Happens to You . . . It's What You Do about It. The author says, before his accident there were 10,000 things he could do. Afterwards there were only 9,000. He realized that he could either focus on the 9,000 things he could still do or the 1,000 that he couldn't. Like W. Mitchell, I choose to focus my life on the things I can still do.
As time has passed, I have realized that the vast majority of us have one sort of disability or another. While many of these afflictions are not readily visible -- conditions like personality disorders, addictions or various health problems-they are no less debilitating than my blindness. I hope my story can help these people see there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have chosen to recognize my limitations and accept them. I've had to find new ways of doing almost every task in my life, and there are many things I would love to do but simply can't. My motto has become "It is what it is.”
On the flip side of the coin, my blindness and subsequent rehabilitation have put me in a position to experience many things I would have never experienced before my accident. I frequently speak about my life. I have served for several years on Directory Boards for various social service agencies. I have had an opportunity to meet prominent businesspeople, professional athletes, celebrities and, most importantly, many wonderful individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the human condition.
Public speaking has given me the opportunity to meet others who struggle with grief and trauma and need answers to their problems. They question why things happen and what they can do about it. My hope, as you read my life story, is that you will perceive it as a triumph of the human spirit; and realize with God's help you too can overcome! With that knowledge, anything is possible.