The Beauty in Paralysis


I was scrolling through Facebook last night and was completely moved by an inspiring story of a very special brother and sister. They talked about being best friends and doing everything together, despite the little girl’s debilitating disability. She was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which put her in a wheelchair from the age of 2. The little boy spoke about how his sister meant everything to him, and was so overcome with emotion that he broke into tears. It’s a sad, tragic, beautiful, inspiring story, and it reminded me how so many antonyms can actually describe the same thing.

Matt and I have had a lot of discussions about having children, and how being paralyzed will make parenting completely different than he and I had always imagined. His physical abilities won’t allow him to teach our son how to run the bases or throw the perfect pitch. He won’t be able to teach our daughter how to swim or kick a soccer ball.

But I have to remind him that our children will benefit in so many other ways from his parenting. They will be sensitive to other peoples’ needs, because they may have to help daddy open up a door or pick up something that’s out of his reach. They will be kind to others who are different, because they will understand what it feels like to be stared at. They will love what’s on the inside more than the outside, because we will teach them that physical perfection is not what makes someone whole. They will have a tenderness, like this little boy has for his sister, that not many children get to experience.

It’s reminders like these that help us remember that there is beauty and strength that goes along with the hardship and vulnerability of paralysis. It’s true what they say in that “you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice (Bob Marley).” There is a truly authentic beauty that comes from courage, strength, and looking inside yourself to find the gumption to carry on when faced with adversity. Though you lose your strength to stand, the strength you gain inside can move mountains.

Check out Trenton and Lindsay’s inspiring story here.

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