Meg's Monthly Message

Pearlized, Not Paralyzed

By January 11, 2019 10 Comments

My name is Meg, but my 5-year-old calls me “Margaret,” which is my given name (…that I have never gone by). This wouldn’t be so bad, but she also corrects me when I introduce myself and insists that everyone from the neighbor to the mailman refers to me as “Margaret.”

I guess that’s okay because the name Margaret really means “a pearl” and I’d definitely say my life is pearl-esque. A pearl is actually just an irritant that’s been worked on and smoothed over until it becomes a beautiful and valued gem, which is just as I’d describe my life. My “irritant” happened in 2004 when I accidentally jumped off a cliff when I was hiking. I am a quadriplegic…totally paralyzed from the chest down. The doctors can’t fix it and I’ve been in a wheelchair ever since.

But as I’ve worked on this and other…irritants…I’ve had some very beautiful and prized successes, not the least of which is my husband and our two girls.

I’ve worked hard for my “normal” life and value every small success. I think sometimes we want the big achievements and victories before we’re satisfied enough to consider it a job well done, but really, it’s the small ones, over time, that pave the way to a triumphant life. It isn’t losing ten pounds, it’s losing one pound ten times (hopefully not the same pound, but if so, we’ll fight the good fight…) that shows our commitment, dedication, fortitude, and sheer awesomeness.

If I’ve learned anything in my time in a wheelchair, it’s how to see the bigness (is that a word?) in the small. No one gave me a medal when I relearned how to pick my nose with paralyzed fingers. No one applauded when I first buttoned my jeans. No one sent me any fan mail when I learned how to tease my own hair…

And that lack of celebration is a major oversight!

It seems that the habit is to celebrate the milestones. We congratulate the new job or buy new pants when we’ve lost ten pounds – but in doing so, we miss the pavestones. We miss acknowledging the eighteenth resume and newly created cover letter…we miss celebrating pound number 4 because we stood on the scale and sighed, six more to go…

But the path to each milestone is laid one pavestone, one tiny accomplishment, one pound…one half a pound…at a time. And we work hard for each irritating one.

And my hope for you is that you can look back at how far you’ve come, how hard you’ve tried, how much you’ve labored to get where you are (whether you’re at your “milestone” or not), and celebrate the reality that your path is paved with pearls.

Keep on Rollin’


Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Lauren Barnes says:

    Thanks for sharing this. This week has been a hard week for me. I work at an elementary. I work with kindergarteners and first grade reading groups. I recently got a new group in my kindergarten group and they are a challenge for me. And after reading this it reminded me I need to look for the little things they can do. And remember I’m trying to do better. because there has been times i want to quit. And think I’m doing things wrong. Thanks for being so awesome and inspiring.
    Lauren Barnes

  • Sarah says:

    Beautiful story!

    Every step in the right direction is part of the journey!

  • Angie Baker says:

    Hi Meg. This is Angie Baker. We were in Kathy Loveless’ speaker mentor group together and you came to my home to speak to my students and their parents. Maybe you remember. Thank you for this wonderful and timely message. Hit right where I needed it today and where I find myself in life’s pearls. Since 5 years ago I went from running 5 miles on Friday to not being able to walk into a grocery store on Monday. Since then I have been fighting to regain my health through the frustration of doctors who try their best but couldn’t figure me out. That is just one of my pearls. I add my witness to yours. This challenge is a gift not that I can say that every day. Every time I reach what I think is all I can take, God opens away to keep going. This last week was the of those desperate times and desperate reachings to God and he did open a way.
    I know I have a story to share and one that will strengthen and inspire others and also myself as I share. I don’t know yet where to start to do that. Would you be willing to talk with me for half an hour to help me generate the ideas for the first few
    steps I can take towards sharing my story?

  • Kami Stewart says:

    I always love your messages of positivity! Thank you! I heard a rumor that you might be moving in around the corner from me. I’m a big fan of yours…and I have a 5 year old daughter, so I’m thrilled! 🙂

  • MEG or should I say Margret??
    You inspire Me. When I feel discouraged with life, or family. I pull up your newsletters or pop in your cd and say a prayer. To turn my negative feeling over to my father in heaven. Then I don’t feel so alone. :} Love you My friend!! My Mama and I was on the Alaskan Cruise with you and your adorable family about 3 years ago. My mom was older lady in a walking boot in a wheel chair.
    thank you
    SueAnn Earley

  • Lorilyn Andrus says:

    Thank you for reminding of the many pearls of mortality. I very much appreciate your talks, emails that I get to read. A friend loaned me a talk on tape for my 1st introduction to you and your amazing story. I accidentally fell down a mountain in 1985. After spending 2 months in a coma with a traumatic brain injury I was blessed to learn how to talk, eat, walk, and care for my self again. I spent months in a wheelchair, then walker, then cane, then no assisting device, and now because of balance issues I walk with a cane whenever I leave my home.
    I have been blessed after my accident to serve a full-time mission to Indiana, return to BYU (Provo), work at a local history Museum, get married and later sealed in the Redlands, CA temple. I have not been blessed with children, but life is full and happy. I move forward.
    I like the phrase Pearlized not Parylyzed.

  • Sharen Perry says:

    Love your positive messages!

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for this!! It’s just what I needed to hear. In June I got a concussion that I’m still struggling to heal from and although others see improvements, sometimes I don’t. I appreciate your words of wisdom and reminder to create joy on the journey.

  • Marilyn Cornelius says:

    Loved this Meg. You are a real inspiration to all. Your Mom and I have been friends since High School (a long time)! Hugs to you💕💕

  • Wendi says:

    Thank you for being YOU!! You inspire me to look for the good in the “bad” moments because that is when the good REALLY can release its inner glow. You help me treasure being a mother, no matter how poorly I may mother according to someone else’s standards, I have learned to trust in God and that He and I know how best to mother the children that He has given to me. I love you Meg! I hope to meet you one day . . . I know I can with an eternal perspective. 😉 See you on the other side!