Jealousy of Self

Here’s a new concept: Jealousy of Self (at least it is for me).
Weird…I never thought I would look at pictures of myself and be jealous of the guy in the photo. I clicked through the photos of this last year in the My Pictures folder on my computer; I could have told you I had a pretty active year. I could have told you I did some fun things this year, things I will remember forever with a smile. I could have told you I had some hard times this year, I mean, how many people see the ER from a gurney twice in one year?
What I never would have guessed was this weird feeling of looking at myself as a separate guy, a guy who was pretty cool and had a lot going for him. I guess maybe this is all explained by the adage that “Everyone has 20/20 hindsight“.  I look at pictures and remember the things going through my head. Back then I had this silly nagging feeling that I was oil and everyone else was water, that even though things were pretty good in life, I still seemed to lack the strength to propel myself into a better career with more money, into a working relationship or to be able leave this town to “broaden my horizons”.
I look at those pictures and remember those thoughts, but cannot believe I felt that way. Why didn’t I concentrate on all I had going for me? I would give just about anything to be restored to where I was then. I was fairly strong (or at least average), now I barely have the strength to turn a key to get into my house and would not be able to even begin 1 push-up. I was driving a sweet pick-up and a motorcycle, now I am forbidden to drive and rely on friends to take me anywhere. I was reading books, now I can’t look down enough to see the page and don’t have the strength to hold the book open for any amount of time. I was regularly hiking and running, now I sit on my butt all day everyday. I had muscle mass built up from high school and now atrophy seems to have robbed me (I have lost about 15 lbs. through all this) I had strong hands that I enjoyed using to work, to build, to paint, to draw, to play guitar and drums,  now my fingers hang limply giving me a handicapped look (well I guess technically I am handicapped right now). I was teaching myself to type correctly right before all this, now I’m reverted to the most rudimentary “hunt and pecking”.
I really should look at this truthfully though. In a couple months I won’t be in this “Miami J” neck brace anymore. One day, many months from now, maybe a year or more, I will regain the extension in my fingers. I will need to purposefully regain my muscle mass but it will come back. I will draw again, mark my words. I have a lot to be thankful for, this accident could have – no should have – been far worse. People have fallen from lesser heights, have hit their head with less force and have ended up para- or even quadriplegic. It scares me to death to think of how close I was to that. I am extremely blessed that I will be able to return to normal! Thank you God!!
I am so happy about that. It’s like waking up from a nightmare and finding that your friends are still alive, your dog wasn’t run over, you hadn’t gone to class in your underwear! It’s like It’s a Wonderful Life where you find out that life isn’t really that bad.  It’s a new day and you get to be you!
So now I look at all of this as an incredible learning experience. I now know what it’s like for my friend who has deformed hands, a little of what it has been like for my mom with one arm, or what its like for my friend who has to have people drive her anywhere she wants to go. I know what its like to “sit on the sidelines” with saddening jealousy as my buddies play paintball or will soon go snowboarding.  This has been an extremely humbling experience. I look at handicapped people in a whole new light. Not an us and them mentality, but actually seeing them eye to eye – that we’re in the same boat together. I always tried to be understanding of them and even feeling really really sorry for them, but right now I am one of them. But I hope even after I’m normal again, that I will keep my new viewpoint. I hope I will cherish the everyday normal things as much as I miss them right now: reaching into my pocket to grab a cell phone or keys, typing, turning keys, reading books, drawing, buttoning my pants, brushing my teeth without the brush sliding down in my hand, etc.etc. I suppose God wants to take advantage of the situation this fallen world has put me in and use it to uplift others! Isn’t He tricky like that?

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One thought on “Jealousy of Self

  1. Thank you. I enjoyed your story and hope you’re feeling better now, as this was written in 2008, and it’s now 2011.

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