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How Lucky We Are

O, to be able to walk without concern, to have good vision, to be able to lift things, to throw a ball, or to traverse stairs

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An occurrence two summers ago awakened me to a profound insight. I’m in the airport in Raleigh, North Carolina minutes away from boarding a flight to New York City.

Hopping down the long airport hallway is a young lady with a deeply pained look on her face. She is on crutches, not the kind you often see for a broken leg, the kind that you use with your wrists. This young lady is missing her right leg, not a little, like above the knee, or halfway above the knee. She is missing ALL of her right leg. She is wearing black tights and, it is apparent, her leg has been severed, right across the top.

There But for the Grace of God…

She is too young to have been in the military. Her left leg is toned, athletic, and shapely. You easily can discern that she was some type of athlete – is some type of athlete: in skiing, soccer, possibly track and field. I’m guessing she’s somewhere between age 18 and 20, perhaps 22 at the most.

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She is ‘model’ beautiful, not unlike a young Kim Basinger or Michelle Pfeiffer. The expression on her face tells me that she has not been in this condition long, and has not done a lot of traveling as of late. I sense that this is her first airport trip, alone, since the operation.

While everyone else in the airport ‘manages’ to not notice her, I decide I will look straight at her and smile. As she passes, however, she is forward-focused. She does not see me… or maybe, peripherally she does. Subconsciously, maybe, she receives it – one tiny ray of sunshine in a world of utter despair. While she didn’t appear to notice, I hope perhaps that some minute level of cosmic healing occurred.

The Shock, and the Horror

I surmise that she had bone cancer. I mentally run through what might be the sequence of events: Her leg is very sore, for weeks or perhaps a few months. She and her parents go in for a diagnosis, they’re called back later, and the doctor offers the dreaded diagnosis, she is going to lose her leg. This can’t be accurate. This must be a mistake. Is there no alternative? Finally, she slumps back in her chair, as do her parents, reeling from the shock and the coming horror.

Not only her parents, grandparents, and cousins, but her friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, and anyone in her circle, share in this misfortune. They will know the difference in who she was, her prowess, her silhouette, her very being, before and after. It’s likely that the nature of her relationships with everyone she’s known shifts, subtly or dramatically.

If she’s 22, or less, that likely means 55 years or more of life in this condition. Hereafter, every TV commercial she ever sees about fashions, shaving your legs, hiking, anything that has to do with being bipedal, will be a reminder, as will every time she opens up a woman’s magazine or almost any magazine.

Casual No More

Go on a casual bike ride? No way. Participate in a golf outing? Not a chance. Play miniature golf? Attend dances? Visit the gym? Take a zumba class? Go on a hike? Spend a day at the beach? If she’s going to drive a car, it will require modified rigging. Wherever she lives will have to be carefully configured: The bathtub or shower, everything will have to be logistically correct.

Anytime she buys shoes, it’ll only be to use one shoe. When she buy socks, she gets a two-for-one deal that she’d rather not have. Any pants, shorts, and other clothing all likely will serve as reminders of her condition.

Even if she achieves peace of mind for herself and is mentally and emotionally acclimated to her condition, every time she steps out into the world of 7.7 billion two-legged people, she’ll undoubtedly encounter dozens if not hundreds of others who look away, or look with pity, and don’t know what to say, what to do, or how to respond.

In my 800+ flights, occasionally I’ve seen one-legged military veterans and older people, as you have, with various prosthetics. They are ambulatory, they get around. With the nature of her condition, how are specialists going to fashion any kind of device for her to walk on her own? (Later, I discover that, thankfully, it can be done.)

This particular young lady, being so beautiful, will attract a mate if she doesn’t already have one. Some young man will decide that he will be her life-time champion. She will likely have children and, mercifully, from infancy with their one-legged mom, as they grow-up it will be the family norm.

What about the less attractive one-leggers? Or, young kids who, from an early age, are not able-bodied? What about burn victims… those who underneath it all scream out “see me,” “see the real me,” not just the scar tissue?

The Firefly

At a convention dinner many years ago, a woman sat next to me. She was burned on at least 80% of her body, including all of her face. When she first sat down, I felt a sense of dread. What would I say? Yet, by the end of the meal, I could see her.

She told me her story. She and her fiancé were flying to the Caribbean when their small plane crashed and burst into flames. He died. She lived, but with 80% burns and in rehabilitation for years. I learned that her email address included the word ‘Firefly’ and that today, she is a speaker – a motivational speaker.

…Weeks pass and I recall seeing the young lady in the airport. Does she think back about her earlier life, an existence that will never be the same? Or, more accurately, does she ever not think about it? Going forward, will there be a day in her life when she truly knows peace? At 32, or 42 will conditions be any better for her? Will the world’s fixation on youth and appearance diminish?

When she goes to sleep at night, and lies on that horizontal plane, and finally nods off, does that bring her a sense of peace? Does she dream of running through open meadows or dancing ‘til the wee hours? Even so, she has to arise in the morning, and it all starts again.

This summer, for days on end, after I saw her, I looked at young women and young men everywhere – in shorts, in bathing suits – and thought to myself, you don’t know how lucky you are. Who among us would not be totally humbled? I thought about how lucky I’ve been, and how lucky most of us have been, at least for most of our lives.

Without a Second Thought

O, to be able to walk without concern. To have good vision, to be able to lift things, to throw a ball, to traverse stairs, or to do nearly anything that we seek to do without a second thought. In my entire life, I don’t think I have ever been as mindful as I am right now as to my highly fortunate existence.

In so many respects, we are all lucky.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Faith

AHA! Biden’s Speech Changed My Mind (Satire)

I’ve had a change of heart after listening to President Biden the other night…

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SATIRE ALERT

I’ve had a change of heart after listening to President Biden the other night. He really made me think it through and I have come to some new conclusions…

I too am sick and tired of you MAGA Republicans. You guys are all semi-fascists. Not “full” fascist, but you know, semi-fascist. I mean just look at you people. Look at what you want to do. As Joe said last night, “the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” So there! The entire country could literally DIE because of your ideas!

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Fascism is “characterized by a dictatorial leader, centralized autocracy, militarism, forcible suppression of opposition, belief in a natural social hierarchy, subordination of individual interests for the perceived good of the nation and race, and strong regimentation of society and the economy.” I know it sounds like Democrats but it isn’t. Don’t look behind the curtain.

It’s time to be done with you MAGA people. I mean just LOOK at what you support:

You and your “love all people based on their character and merit rather than the color of their skin” baloney. How can we divide people into manageable voting blocks without getting people separated by skin color or how they have sex and with whom? And pronouns. Get with the program, or are you just too dumb to figure it all out? Of course a single person can be “they.” Language is a social construct, idiots.

You and your ilk telling everyone we should be able to “speak freely.” BS! Keep your mouths shut, crazies. Words are violence!

You and the whole “energy independence” sham. What a crock. We should rely on countries that hate us to sell us energy, even though we could produce it on our own. That just makes sense. If you can’t figure that out, well, you are too far gone. No amount of nonsense will make sense to you.

Look at you puritanical mobsters, with your “six year old boys shouldn’t be allowed to transition to little girls.” Who are you to tell a ten year old girl she can’t have her uterus removed? Her body, her choice.

Strong military? Hogwash, you power-mongers! It’s a new world order where we will be taking directions from the Chinese Communist Party, thank you very much. It’s THEIR turn to lead. You think they gave the Biden family $30,000,000 for nothing? Sheesh, you just don’t know how the world works, do you?

Oh, and the idea that you want to protect life? Give me a break. Just because it has a heartbeat, arms, legs, a head, a brain, a fully formed body, blah, blah, blah, does not mean its a baby. SCIENCE!

Keeping inflation in check? Gas prices too high? Get an electric car, you cavemen. Groceries too high? Eat some celery.

Prosecute and imprison violent offenders? Keep it to yourselves, racists! These people DESERVE a 14th chance.

Oh and you want us to honor the flag? No way, imperialist scumbags. It’s not like the flag represents the greatest country ever, one that has helped countries all over the world with aid and military protection. Not like America has been the line between freedom and communist world domination or anything.

Freedom of religion? Not on our watch, fanatics. Power is our God. The Golden Rule? He who has the gold, makes the rules.

The right to bear arms? Yeah, you and every other terrorist. The founders had MUSKETS, so there. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it (Don’t actually, tobacco products are harmful to your health).

Follow the Constitution? It’s 2022, you backwoods imbeciles.

You want to just be left alone? Not on our watch. Not to sound arrogant, but we went to Harvard and Yale, and well, frankly, we’re just smarter than you. We took feminist art studies. What did you take? Accounting? We are the enlightened. It is a new world and we’ll let you know what’s acceptable from now on.

No, President Biden is right. You are a threat to democracy. I mean, really you’re not, but in order to bring down democracy we have to scare the living hell out of most Americans with an enemy we can pin the blame on. But who cares, it’s all in the name of fundamentally transforming America. Take that, you insurrectionist, threat to democracy, semi-fascists. It’s you. YOU are the target now. We will use the FBI, Homeland Security, anything we need to to make sure you can’t spread your crazy ideas.

I’m not going to stand with you freedom-loving fascists anymore. No, I’m throwing in with the kind and loving Democrats. They are far superior to you half-wits. Because they care so much for us they will tell us exactly how to believe, and how to live, and we will like it… or else.

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Faith

Are You Waiting On God?

God is good. God sees you. God hears your prayers.

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How long will you wait on God?

Sometimes it takes a very long time for God to work. Much longer than we would want it to take. But we must persevere in prayer and hope and trust.

For the last seven years I have had a terrible situation in my life. And there was nothing I could do about it except pray.

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I’ve never posted about it on Facebook. Probably less than 20 people in the world even know what it is.

It was sad, painful, and hurt like hell every day. But there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Doing anything hurt the situation so doing nothing but pray to God was the only option.

For seven years I cried out to God. At times I lost hope. I wondered where God was, yet I continued to call out to Him.

And then, one morning a few weeks ago, I woke up, and it was over. The situation changed, literally overnight. It was over, miraculously, without me doing a single thing except waiting on God’s timing.

How long will you wait on God? I know that many of you are going through your own burdens. I know that many of you feel like giving up because the pain is too much. I know exactly how you feel. I’ve lived it for seven years.

But know this, God is good. God sees you. God hears your prayers. God wants to bless you. It is in His timing, however. Your job is to pray, listen, and follow His direction, all the while waiting for Him to make His move.

God has you in His faithful hands. You can trust Him today.

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