I am reading a memoir called “Un Moving Four Ward” by Bob Bell. It begins with the story of how he suffered an accident as a freshman in college. He became paralyzed, a quadriplegic after a classmate broke his neck in a wrestling move. Bob’s life was altered completely in a dorm room hallway by someone he knew, but was by no means friends with, in a wrestling move.
He describes the move and the scene as all happening very quickly. After Bob fell to the ground, his body completely out of his control, he lay on the floor knowing certainly that something was very wrong with his body. He looked up at the young man, this guy he did not consider a friend, and said, “I forgive you.”
Reading these words and imagining the situation, I cried. I could not imagine a 19-year-old kid, first year in college, looking up at a guy he really didn’t like, a guy who made fun of him and aggravated him, and saying, “I forgive you” without even knowing with certainty what was wrong.
It got me to thinking about the freedom Bob created for himself by uttering that statement. He seems in the memoir to truly feel that way. Bob was freed up evermore from the burden his soul would bear if be blamed the young man. By looking at his quadriplegic state as an accident, his energies could be dedicated to healing and improving as much as possible.
What consumes our mind controls our life.
Because of that forgiveness in Moment One, Bob did not allow hate, anger, or revenge to consume his mind or control his life. I dare say many of us, if not most of us, would not forgive in Moment One. And, therefore, we may be consumed in our life with the negativity of hate, anger, or revenge.
Since my heart attack and diagnosis of a chronic vascular disease (FMD) five years ago, I have tried to consume my mind with gratitude. Living with a chronic medical condition and gradually becoming accustomed to new, lower levels of “normal” is challenging. But as soon as I start to feel sorry for myself I learn of someone else in a tough situation. And the other person’s situation is always worse than mine.
My goal is to allow my mind to be consumed with positivity, with gratitude, and with joy in experiencing the moments of the day. These are the attitudes I want to control my life.
Fear, anxiety, and anger have consumed me from time to time. But I refuse to be controlled by them. And I am thankful to Bob Bell for the reminder.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and family. May we all give special thanks this season. Make it a good week!