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’