Why Me?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Friedrich Nietzsche noted German philosopher (1844-1900) offered this bit of wisdom which I have come to embrace as my personal world view … my attitude about my life.

My perspective is that while “bad things” seem to happen to me, I have the ability to embrace them as an opportunity for personal growth. Let me explain.

Two decades ago when we got the diagnosis that Melissa has a life-threatening metabolic disorder and permanent brain damage, I asked myself many of the questions that we have all pondered. Why have we been given a child with a chronic illness? What have we done to deserve this? WHY ME?

I spent years lamenting our situation. But now I’ve learned that that the birth of our special needs child was not a punishment or an incredibly bad stroke of luck, but rather was a GIFT … an opportunity to make a difference in the world.

That might sound strange, but here’s how I came to this conclusion.

As humans, we are only able to see the present and the past. Our world view is therefore shaped by what we have experienced. But as I have grown older (and I would like to think wiser) I’ve come to believe that God has a plan for each of our lives. Since we can’t see into the future, we must have faith that God will guide us and protect us through our life journey … no matter how daunting it might seem on any particular day. And over time, as we experience life, the purpose of this plan will be revealed to us.

As evidence of God’s plan at work in my life, I offer our experience with the Organic Acidemia Association (www.oaanews.org). In 1997 my wife Kathy and I assumed responsibility for this fledgling organization that provides information and support for parents and professionals caring for children with metabolic disorders like our Melissa has. Over the past decade, the work of this organization has touched the lives of hundreds. While one might argue that if we had not taken the reins of this support group, someone else may have accomplished the same (or maybe even more). But we’ve come to believe that Melissa was given to us to put us on this path—so that we might help others through their own journey.

If you are interested in an inspiring book, I recommend What Doesn’t Kill You Makes you Stronger: Turning Bad Breaks into Blessings by Maxine Scnall, published in 2002. In her book, Ms. Scnall offers a glimpse of how people have pulled through a terrible situation or have used creative problem-solving when all hope seemed lost. She recounts her own experience about how she dealt with her daughter’s brain injury from an accident.

I hope that each of you will consider how the challenges presented to you through your special needs child can be embraced as an opportunity for personal growth.




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