Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Story Time!

Stories ignite inspiration in my life. When I watch a movie, read a book, or hear first-hand the stories of exceptional people that have made great differences in our world, it gives me the hope and drive to do the same.

I love adventure and experience. I have so many things that I want to do with my life, but I know that realistically one can only do so much in a lifetime. This is where other's experiences step in. We can learn and grow not only by what we do personally, but also by what others have accomplished.

We have sympathy and sometimes even empathy for those who share stories of personal struggles. Without these stories, we may remain blind to certain injustices that do not affect us directly. Most do not look to fix the wrong in the world until the wrong hurts us or the ones we love. Unfortunately, its either our own experience or the hurt we feel from other's experiences/stories that light a fire in our hearts to get up and do something about it!

As far as my own stories, I have plenty, all of which have shaped who I am today. I find it interesting that although we all love hearing stories and know the impact they can bring; we find it difficult to share our own experiences. We do not want people to hurt for us, although the hurt may be beneficial.

In the past few years, I have seen the impact of community involvement and am grateful for the love and care family, friends, and even strangers have shown in times of need. In January 2008, my grandpa was fixing a roof for a friend, fell off a ladder and landed on a pile of wood. He was rushed to the hospital, but told that nothing was seriously injured and was sent home the same night. He woke up that night in excruciating pain unable to move his legs. My grandpa had fractured three vertebrae in his spine and because the hospital failed to treat it right away, he is now paralyzed.
Neither of my grandparents finished high school, and have therefore worked very hard for little money there entire lives. Their main source of income came from my grandpa working on odd jobs around their small town. With my grandpa no longer being able to work and the outrageous amounts of bills from hospitals, specialists, etc. my grandparents were falling deeper and deeper into debt. To add to the mess, my grandparent's home was not handicap accessible and needed great amounts of remodeling; and they also had no vehicle that could transport my grandpa in a wheelchair. With the help of mine and my uncle's family, the people of small town Sweet Home, Oregon put together a fund for my grandparents, had an electric wheelchair donated for my grandpa, and remodeling my grandparents house so Papa Al could live there. A lawyer from their town even donated her services to file a lawsuit against the hospital, and a man in town offered to share his van to transport my grandpa back and forth from doctor's appointments. Without community involvement, mine and my uncle's family could not have supported my grandparents alone. This experience made a great impact in not only my grandparent's lives but also made me realize the effect we can have in our community. We need each other.

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