|Phormis, kept under my neighbor's lights all winter while I recovered.|
As a substitute teacher, I sometimes get to have conversations with young people which I could never imagine. Returning to school now with a cane to walk has given me membership in a special club, the mobile but less than able. In schools, there are always those athletes who have messed up an ACL or MCL, or have sprained an ankle. We are all enabled to ask, "what happened to you?"
There are also those with lifetime membership to the "Broken Club". Today, I had a conversation with one such student. This student is an avid BMX dirt bike racer. Two or thIree years ago on a beautiful spring day, he had a terrible accident. I was subbing at the school then and heard of the accident. When I heard of his injuries, I could not imagine him even living, let alone returning to school, or having a normal life. For sure, I never imagined having the deep, soul-searching conversation about the very depths your psyche can bottom-out to when recovering from such an injury. Conversation about the mindless hours, adding up to days, weeks, and months, to recover from such injuries and when his eyes met mine as he dug deep to express that, he knew that I knew where that place was.
And, that we had both been there.
And suddenly, we had a very deep connection, because we both know not too many people get to that place, especially not someone who is not yet 18 (or even people at my age), and certainly not his peers.
Because of the extent of his injuries, including spinal and brain, he was on a lot of anti-inflammatory and blood thinning drugs. That summer though was pretty much a blur, and he said he thinks the doctors probably had him on anti-depressants as well, he's not sure. He says they helped.
But the one thing that really burned inside him was his desire to get back on the horse that threw him...to competitively dirt bike again, to earn his semi-pro status. I have to say his courage is greater than mine. This spring, when winter finally lets go of central Wisconsin, he will finally be back on his bike. I will be crossing my fingers for him. It is what drives him. He needs to do it.
And I get it.
Whatever it is that drives us is what makes us whole. It is what we live for. Whatever it is, if we can't do it, then we will be broken. Until then we will embrace the suck, and it will move us forward.