One of our favorite movies is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Every year, my wife and I watch it, and the story of a man who is so hopeless that he contemplates suicide until an angel shows him what the world would be been without him.
Last night, when we were watching this holiday favorite, my wife said in a nut shell, “You have a wonderful life, and you have helped so many people. You should know that. The thread of your life has helped countless people. You are George Bailey.”
Sometimes when I feel sad and lonely because of my strokes, iut is reasonable that I feel sad. In darker moments when I wonder what my future holds, I do harbor the notion that if I was never born, it would not matter at all. Of course, those moments are fleeting because I love so many people. I could not imagine not being part of my world and life.
I do try to help other people. I have tried to mentor people. I volunteer a lot because I think I make a difference. When people ask me why I care for so many other people, I think of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his quote: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
The issues and deficits I have because of my strokes really made me think I cannot make a difference. I thought my life was over in so many ways. In the beginning, I just needed to heal. When I started thinking again about my relevance, I assumed I could not help anyone.
A great friend of mine is a lawyer and a lobbyist. He would not let me feel sorry for myself. He said, “You will lobby again.” He provided an office and opportunity. He said “Just be visible. Even though you cannot read, you have so much knowledge and contacts. Do not sell yourself short.”
His confidence in me helped a lot. It is gratifying because I helped him get started in his career.
People like him, my wonderful wife, my brothers, and friends, told me that I can contribute even though I still need time to recover.
Because individuals like them, I had the courage to confront my fears. Sure, I have difficulty speaking and expressing a lot, I have been appointed on several boards like Idaho Housing & Finance and the American Heart and Stroke Association.
I am still trying to make a difference in life. I have a wonderful life.