“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I lost the use of my hands in college.  I could not write, type, or turn a doorknob.  I was in excruciating pain all the time.  

For two years, doctors could not figure out what was wrong.  One told me I was making it up.  Several told me that I would never heal.

I was raised believing that hard work could get me anywhere – but for the first time, it couldn’t.  I was raised believing in self-reliance as the greatest virtue – but now, I needed help with almost everything.

While I had intellectually understood that life is not fair, for the first time I felt it. 

I felt the frustration of facing barriers outside my control – some unavoidable, but many that were within people’s power to change.

Eventually, I found workarounds, like operating a mouse by foot and "typing" with voice recognition software.  Eventually, after multiple surgeries, I healed.  But I never forgot the lessons of those years.  I gained a newfound determination to help people overcome the obstacles they cannot tackle alone, to give others the benefit of the doubt, and to understand that asking for help can be a strength, not a weakness.  Now, I feel privileged when someone asks me to lend a hand.

 

— Lindsay McGregor