When Life’s Not Fair
Jerry had spent most of his adult life as a firefighter, rescuing people, pets, and property. He loved what he did, and he was good at it! He found fulfillment in helping people in crisis—but he never expected to become one of those people.
It was a typical drive to work on the two-lane highway when a car pulled to the side of the road suddenly made a U-turn, driving in the wrong direction into Jerry’s lane. Jerry was unable to avoid her and she hit Jerry head-on. Jerry was airlifted to the trauma center where he underwent thirteen hours of surgery to repair the numerous fractures and shattered bones of his body. In addition to the many fractures and other injuries, Jerry suffered thirteen strokes as a result of fat emboli from the numerous large bone fractures.
Many months later, Jerry was released from the hospital and then put into physical rehab. He knew his job would now be trying to get out of a wheelchair rather than up a fire ladder.
His pain, frustration and depression were only accentuated when he went to court. He wanted the driver who hit him in the head-on collision to pick up the tab on some of his lost wages and medical bills, but he was shocked to see her get off the hook. She had no driver’s license or insurance when she hit him. He watched as she left the courthouse, got into her car with her child, and drove off—still without a license or insurance! His life was now in shambles and she was off scot-free! Sometimes, life is just not fair.
Among people who have survived horrific circumstances, we have seen that they have typically made three decisions to help them overcome the hurdles of the road ahead of them.
1 – Recognize the Anger
Jerry, like so many people who have had tragedy come their way, had a choice to make. He could be bitter and resentful, or he could turn things around. He knew the hatred and anger he felt but he did not allow that to take up residency in him. Jerry acknowledged the decision to not let it be a part of who he was on the inside. He did not want that poison to kill him.
2 – Release
Like other brain injury and stroke survivors, Jerry found ways to experience a peaceful resolution. Some find it through prayer or meditation, others through music, or expressing themselves through art. Some love to write, others simply go to a quiet place to calm the storm in their head and seek solitude and healing that way.
3 – Redirect
Most people who have been in a traumatic situation made a choice at some point: the choice to redirect their energy away from being a victim towards another focus. Energy is a powerful force in life. It can direct us down some dark paths of confusion, or it can move us in a healthy direction of strength and healing.
Like many others who could have chosen to be bitter and angry the rest of their lives, Jerry instead found ways to redirect his own energy toward good. If you were to meet Jerry, you would never know the hell he went through. Instead you would see a person who is happy, friendly, and always looking to be a resource for others in crisis. He has indeed turned a horrific situation into an avenue to help others—not an easy task when life’s not fair.