In an age where victimhood has become entrenched as America’s state religion, it’s refreshing to occasionally meet someone who is determined to overcome their obstacles and find a way to make life work on their terms.
I was recently reminded of this when I had a chance encounter with a remarkable, upbeat young woman at a high school where my son was playing in a basketball tournament. After his game, he and I happened to pass the open door to her office and saw that she was watching a college game on television. We asked if she would mind if we joined her, and she acquiesced.
Once seated in her office, we struck up a conversation with her that proved to be unexpectedly inspiring. She explained that she coached the girls’ basketball team at the school, then went on to say, “I get so mad at the girls when they don’t follow my instructions, it drives me crazy.”
She continued with, “So I get out on the floor with them and try to show them how I want them to move. But it gets frustrating sometimes, because I have to drag this darn thing around with me,” whereupon she pulled up her right pant leg slightly and slapped a titanium prosthetic.
Whoa! No matter how many times I see this kind of thing, it’s always a reality check. I asked her how she lost her leg, and she explained that it happened in a freak accident in California about five years ago.
I didn’t quite catch all the details, but the bottom line was that she was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time when a huge truck started rolling down a hill. She got caught between that truck and another one behind her, and the next thing she knew she was, as she described it, “rolling end over end downhill.”
When she got to the bottom of the hill, she thought she had escaped a near-fatal accident by the skin of her teeth, because she didn’t feel any pain. But when she checked herself out, she found that her right leg was missing. She later discovered that her leg was still lodged between the two trucks at the top of the hill.
Victim? You certainly wouldn’t know it to hear her talk. Today she displays a remarkably enthusiastic, high-energy attitude and clearly has a zest for life. As she put it, “Hey, sh__ happens in life. When I wake up every morning, the first thing I think of is how lucky I am to be alive.”
We all hear and see these kinds of stories every day, which is to our benefit because we need to continually be reminded of how lucky we are. With few exceptions, no matter how heavy our burdens, we can always find people who have much heavier crosses to bear.
Socrates summed it up well when he said, “If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own.”
To keep all this in proper perspective, it’s good to remember that a handicap is simply anything that makes achievement more difficult. Which means that everyone has handicaps, physical or otherwise. An obese person has a handicap; a person with a low IQ has a handicap; a person who comes from a poverty-stricken home has a handicap.
In other words, not only are many people born with physical handicaps, but other kinds of handicaps can come into someone’s life in the form of an inherited environment. An example of such an inherited handicap would be an abusive parent.
Regardless, any handicap, by definition, makes life more difficult, but just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Put another way, the challenge is to succeed in spite of one’s handicaps, and the empirical evidence makes it clear that that’s something that is definitely possible.
No question about it, victimhood has a serpent-like allure to it, but its mortal enemy, self-responsibility, is so much more fulfilling. Getting this point across to those who are trapped in a victimhood existence will be a major factor in determining the outcome of the 2020 elections. This is one point Republicans cannot afford to cede to the Dirty Dems.