I remember my first month in a TBI support group at Oregon State and hearing the incredible stories of my peers. They talked about the symptoms they had, and the daily struggle of TBI. Each had unique and trying stories that forced me to reflect on my own situation. As far as I could tell, I was symptom free, at least I thought I was. As far as I could tell, my life was seemingly unaffected. The only ramification I could identify was my lack of a “normal” social life, and to be honest, I already led a pretty anti-social life before my accident.
As these meetings passed and my first year of support group meetings flew by, I began to feel more and more guilty about my recovery. This still exists a bit, but only in certain circumstances. For example, if I am taking my health for granted and wasting the opportunities I have to help others or to enjoy the health I do have then I feel some remorse.
Anyways, here is my solution: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I can’t remember how I originally came across this phrase, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I had found my answers.
I realize that this seems like a commandment, leaving no room for being present or enjoying what you have been given. But I argue that enjoyment and gratitude are some of the things that are “demanded.” In fact, I would say that it is impossible to give back at one’s fullest potential without doing so with a grateful soul that enjoys the privilege of being of value to others.
Today, this moment, every minute, I do my best to give back “much more” than I have been given. I was gifted with a healthy brain and body (for now), and feeling guilt is counterproductive. Even though the originator of this quote knew giving back more than you started with is a high task (possibly the highest), they also knew that giving back is the best way to carry your mind, body, and soul through time until death. It goes back to making someone else’s day to make your own day better. Don’t just be better than yesterday, give better than yesterday. So that’s what I try to do, and that’s what I challenge you all to do. Count your blessings, gratefully throw your guilt in the dumpster, and give back to the best of your ability.
P.S .that quote was from Jesus, or in Spanish, Jesús.