Tuesday, November 17, 2009

denying the infinite capacity.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
G. K. Chesterton quotes

i had the chance to go to walter reed hospital yesterday, a military hospital that specializes in soldier rehabilitation. its attention to detail was obvious, but it is what one would expect seeing as it was occupied by soldiers. smiling faces enveloped the first wheelchair as it rolled past, an anomaly i assumed. but after awhile i noticed that it was more of a pattern that took me awhile to grow accustomed to.

when we walked into the first room i didn’t know what to expect, i thought i was going to see a soldier laying on his back staring at the wall, daydreaming of some desert scenario where he twists and turns his way into a different outcome. but i found no hidden regrets in the three hours that we were there.

the first guy ‘chris’ was surrounded by friends and family, with hundreds of cards posted over the place like wallpaper. he had a grin on his face as we walked in and wasted no time befriending each and every one of us. his story was tragic but you couldn’t tell it by the enthusiastic and upbeat way he conveyed his story.

‘chris’ was shot 4 times, ravishing his legs. the impact of the bullets shattering his femur shoved him over a wall where he fell 20 feet onto the ground below. once there the armed gunman still shot round after round at him, but ‘chris’ mustered the strength to drag himself over 40 feet to safety. his goals and dreams for the future is to ‘once again walk’, said all through smiles, with the distinct accent of ‘hope’.

stories like this reoccurred all day, some stories being more tragic then others, but all with similar endings, hope. i even met a father of twins who explained that if he not been shot and his leg amputated that he would not have been there to watch his babies being born! HOW! how do people see so clearly through the grey to see the one lone bright spot, and then exploit it to such a profound end.

“Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted”
Aldous Huxley quotes

a few soldiers broke down and told us that they do get down, and saddened by their circumstances but they tell me that they can’t let that get them down for long or it will consume their lives. the MOST positive outgoing upbeat person was a ‘leon’ who had lost both his legs and one of his arms in a roadside explosion. after his intense story he explained that he came home to a caring wife, a new home that a non-profit organization bought him, and a few months later found out his wife was pregnant with his second child. he told us his life had never been better, all that, with only one arm.

and i digress; i catch myself complaining about the small insignificant meaningless moments in my own life, but i walked away not feeling guilty for my heaven bound disagreements but completely motivated to look at the darkest moments of my own life and figure out a way to see the smallest ray of hope and expound on that. these men were not sorry, or saddened but hopeful and proud. i hope one day i can be as brave and strong in the face of my own battles as those men i met at walter reed.