It’s one of the great challenges in a life to have to learn how to work with a situation that’s not perfect. It can be especially difficult when circumstances make it more of a challenge than others seem to have, and it’s hard to not take things personally. At first, anyway. Most people who get around in a wheelchair have had to go through a stage of taking things personally, because it’s just part of the ride.
After that, however, things start to shift in radical directions, and for everyone, there is an after. Nancy Mairs, in writing about her own struggles with chronic illness in books like Remembering the Bone House , is one of the more articulate writers in tracking the inner journey that happens to everyone who finds themselves dealing with more than they’d counted on from the world.
Those who come through the struggles with a sense of wholeness do seem to have an edge over everyone else. Particularly over those who have never had to face any kind of adversity. In most of the world’s spiritual traditions, there are nuggets of wisdom to be found about the nature of suffering. They all seem to agree that at some point there is a chance to start seeing the world from a different point of view. The ability to shift perspective is the most freeing thing a human being can do, because it amounts to the ability to be free at the core, and that’s something that can’t always be learned by walking.