An especially rewarding thing to do for a living is to help people overcome challenges and limitations and achieve great things. One of the most formidable challenges anyone can face is paralysis or loss of limbs. Looking at such a person’s life from the outside, it might appear as if that person’s life is sad and diminished. But there are so many examples of people being greater than their limitations, and having them not be limitations at all. There are even companies dedicated to selling used wheelchair vans to help them do it.
Consider the athletes who compete in paralympic games. They may be veterans who have come home from overseas actions with loss of mobility, or with amputations. Their courage on the battlefield, however, can translate into courage and achievement in civilian life. Some companies specialize in providing wheelchair-access vehicles for people determined to achieve in spite of obstacles. There is a woman named Kari Miller, recommended for promotion in the Army while stationed in Bosnia and Korea. Losing her legs in an auto accident overseas didn’t “cripple” Kari. She went on to live an accomplished life.
Kari continued her education at the University of Illinois, where she played wheelchair basketball and volleyball. This took her to the 2008 Beijing Paralympics-and a silver medal. Today Kari, having triumphed over what might have appeared from the outside to be a disability or a limitation, has come back “all the way.” She’s been fitted for custom prosthetic legs and has gone back to doing what she loved to do before her accident: running. By treating her loss as a challenge rather than a handicap, she has once again become what she was in high school and the Army before the accident happened: an outstanding track star.
Knowing you can do something in spite of what appear to be insurmountable obstacles can make all the difference in life. What may seem to be the end of your journey, or a setback that you may never get over, may in fact be a detour. You’ll get where you’re going. You’ll just take a different route than you originally planned. It’s true in sports as in so many other things.