Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

July 5, 2014

Adapted in TC: Life lessons learned from the hand we're dealt

"You people are all so Zen-like,” Ben said, sipping his coffee in the diner where we were having breakfast.

“You people?” I asked.

“People with disabilities, challenges,” he said.

“Do you think so?” I asked.

“Well, I think most people would want to end their lives if they had to use a wheelchair, were blind, deaf or had experienced a terrible accident or illness. If under those circumstances they decide to live, and I mean thrive not just survive, then I think they’ve evolved,” he said.

“Really?” I asked. “Don’t you think everyone just does the best they can and that human beings are hard-wired to want to live?”

“Maybe. But that’s not me or most people. I get upset over little things like when people cut me off on the road or slight me in some way. Everything that happens to me is of the same importance. People with disabilities that I’ve met, have their priorities straight and keep things in perspective. They’re more patient. Remember the stranger at the mall who put you back into your car after you’d just gotten out into your wheelchair? I would have burst a blood vessel over that guy! What about when you tipped over backwards in your flower garden, driving your wheelchair handles into the dirt. You stayed tilted in the air for an hour! Or the times when you’ve been stuck in a bathroom stall. I mean literally stuck. I’d just be angry and frustrated all the time,” he said.

“What else could I do but laugh? I wasn’t injured,” I said.

“I always question the fairness of why difficult things happen to me. Anything distressing. Not you or people like you. Even when you’ve experienced great pain. I’ve heard you say”why shouldn’t things happen to me? What makes me so special?” he added.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted