When the first sledding-worthy day in Indiana arrives, boots get tugged out of the back of the closet and layers become a must. Although  accumulating snow never reached more than a few inches this year, people still find ways to enjoy the white-laced earth.

On one of the only days decent enough for any outdoor winter activity, Austin McNew, a junior at a high school nearby mine, suffered an injury due to a collision impact that rendered his body immobile from the shoulders down. Hospitalized, he fought every day to regenerate movement and to improve his physical strength. The county schools raised support by selling bracelets and shirts and sending up prayers. Everyone wanted to hear the latest update; everyone wanted to see a success story of healing unravel.

I couldn’t help but wonder how I would handle the situation of not knowing if I’d ever again be able to pick up my violin and play, to walk, even to take steps. I’d be panicked. I’d be in horror. I’d lose what sanity I have. Yet, Austin fought for his muscles and the significance of slight advancements of his body’s natural desire for healing.

We all want to be healed when something goes awry in our lives. And we want to be healed right there and then. When we get dumped, we go on meaningless dates. When we feel abandoned, we feel sorry for ourselves. When a loved one passes away, we ache angrily for them. None of these bandages are adhesives. Our methods are short-term, in the moment, brash, desperate endeavors, and they only leave our wounds open for infection to take hold of the situation. Meanwhile, the real cure lays in our attitudes when we realize we aren’t terminally injured, damaged, worthless, or finished with our stories.

If bitterness and pity ran my life while I feel sorry for myself and my situation, I would never go anywhere. How self-absorbed would I become? Has no one been dumped before, been abandoned, or lost someone except me? Rather, the most beautifully-souled people who have graced this earth experienced adversity. Think of Bethany Hamilton after her shark attack, Stephen King after the rejection of his first novel, or Steve Jobs when he was fired from a company he created. There are motivational icons for anyone who needs to rise from their difficulties and heal.

In fact, not long after Austin wheeled into his hospital room, he moved his fingers, he regained strength, a wheelchair allowed him to walk, and his own motivational icon, Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, video chatted with him.

Healing is inevitable for growth. Flowering opportunities are right at your fingertips ready to greet you when the timing is right if you’d only look up from your battle. Rid yourself of negativity and doubt and surround yourself with the merit of encouragement. Trials will pass. Happiness is a reoccurring habit. Stay positive.


Find out more about Austin McNew and his story using the hashtag #McNewStrong on Twitter.


Leave a Reply