Have you ever had a traumatic event in your life where the time all of a sudden stands still, everything and everybody moves in slow motion, your brain keeps throbbing, you hear a whooshing sound in the back ground and you just cannot believe what is happening?
Yet it is happening and you cannot stop it. It is not a dream that you can wake up from and forget about it soon. You must persevere anyway though and somehow cope with it. One key thing to do is to stay rational and reasonable as possible. This is closely followed by trying to get time behind you such that a new reality can set in quickly. Reflecting upon what happened and how it happened is just as important as is picking up your head and looking around to see how other people coped with their crisis situations.
Just recently one of those events happened to me again and it reminded me of the time when my alcoholic parents were quite under the influence on night quite a long time ago. I was 18 years old and my 3 years younger sister had been listening to their fighting when things really turned for the worse. My dad got so verbally abusive that my mom could not stand it any longer and she just left the house. It was 10pm at night in the middle of the winter season and she was not wearing a jacket. Remember what I said above about the swooshing sound? Well, I could barely hear anything else. My sister and I were in complete panic mode. I got so mad at my dad that I demanded his car keys such that my sister and I could use his car to start looking for our mother. He was so blitzed that he unfortunately never recalled what I said to him that night, but talk about being scared about the well-being of our mom. After 2 hours of a unsuccessful search we finally called it quits for the night. Just as we settled in our mom appeared out of nowhere and it turned out that she had stuck around in the neighborhood just to hide in our boiler room of our house. We had no choice but to let things progress from there. Eventually, I helped mom divorce dad and even though he left us with a lot of debt, we persevered and are nowadays the better for it as the lessons we learned prepared us for more difficult things life tossed in our way.
While this surely was not a highlight of my life and this made us feel really bad at the time, in hindsight and comparison I have to admit, this is all but a small speck on the wall. This year I was blessed to meet John O’Leary. Here is this fabulous gentleman who as a kid literally playing with fire ended up blowing himself up with a gas can full of gasoline. He burned so badly that he lost fingers and over 90% of his body was burned. He was not expected to live. It was the perseverance of his family, his care takers, the one baseball celebrity and John himself that pulled him through this. He is now a well sought after motivational speaker. He totally changed my outlook on life in so far as asking yourself one key question every day of your life: What more can I do? Go ahead; please look at some of his videos. Give it a minute and you will get my point. John, this one is for you!
Compare the two stories. While both were truly traumatic to the main actors at the time, John’s story can hardly be topped in terms of the gravity of the situation and how sadly it could have ended. This is not about winner/ loser thinking or who had it tougher or easier though. It is truly about one thing only: Perseverance. It is the essence of our human spirit. Never give up and always ask yourself what more you can do.