|Blindsided - Page 6|
Anyone who's recovered from a bout of the flu knows it's a good feeling to be well again, but few people get to experience repeatedly the profound thrill of being alive again that living through a catastrophic illness provides. Every little detail of life has significance: a clear winter night with a full moon; the softness of a kiss; Faye's laughter. This kind of awareness has made it hard to be depressed for long—depression is more of a breakthrough phenomenon, which catches me off guard.
Despite everything I had no choice about, I did have one fundamental choice to make: my choice of a "stance" toward life. Would I find joy in the options that remained, or would I succumb to grief over what I'd lost? I chose joy and, except for occasional times when grief simply overwhelms me, I've stuck to it doggedly.
The stance may not be new, but how I got there was far from automatic. There's definitely no end to what you can obsess about with both leukemia and paraplegia, but I was determined to master optimism. I read everything I could get my hands on about bad things happening to good people and numerous autobiographies written by people coping with disability. I did a thorough self-study of the Book of Job. I got a solid hold on my faith—belief in the ultimate goodness and authority of God—which generated hope for an uncertain future. Faith became the foundation for everything else that I'd learned about optimism.