As human beings, I believe we are extremely lucky. I often think about what life would be like as a bear, a mosquito, a hookworm, or any other creature on this earth. I used think of these animals as being free. They don’t need to start a 401K, they don’t need to impress their parents (although according to the Bee Movie, this may not be accurate), and they most certainly don’t get embarrassed.
Then I turn on National Geographic. I quickly see father bears eating their cubs. Rough stuff. Or how about the kamikaze ants C. explodins that, as the name indicates, squeeze their abdomen so hard before a fight that their internal glands explode, emitting a goo that is deadly to their enemies. I
I am not saying that human beings have it easy. Life often seems nearly synonymous to suffering. Just read The Gulag Archipelago or Unit 731, or watch Slumdog Millionaire. We have the capacity to break the mold. We can look at the world, see what is wrong or at least “not the best”, and we have the capacity to work at changing that. The suffering comes from knowing that bad things exist. The beauty of life is the ability to expose these issues and inject some light into the darkness.
Example: BJ Miller, a man who, during his sophomore year in college, accidently came into contact with the power lines for a local rail line. Besides nearly dying, BJ lost two legs and one arm. He is now a doctor. I cannot imagine how difficult the path is from being a teenager triple amputee to becoming a palliative care doctor at UCSF, but he did it. Today he has helped over 1,000 people die with peace.
Or how about Dawn Loggins, a teenager who returned home from a summer camp to find that her drug addicted parents had abandoned her, leaving her homeless. She eventually began working nights at her own high school as a custodian. Then she got into Harvard. She now studies linguistics at Harvard.
Or how about you. Maybe you had a brain injury when you were a kid, nine months ago, or maybe you were born with it. Regardless, you have faced obstacles and controversy because of it. If you are reading this, it means that you are striving to get better. It means that regardless of what life dealt you, you are going to fight for improvement. It means that you are using the abilities that only humans have to turn chaos into order. It means you are truly living.
Please, next time you feel discouraged, deflated, or apathetic, remember those that have fought in the past. Use them as inspiration to get up, get after it, and enjoy the challenges you get to face every day.
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