To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson runs parallel to my personal thoughts on what success is. To me success is measured in the number of lives I am able to positively impact. There have been times in my life when I have been incredibly successful and there have been times of lull. These slower times are usually followed by some semi-drastic life change as I become unhappy and restless when this happens. The most recent BIG change I made in my pursuit of success was leaving the hospital last year to return to school full-time. You would think that working at a hospital would provide plenty of opportunity to help others and traditionally I believe this is true but in my case things became stagnant rather quickly. First off, I worked in an executive office not in the actual hospital so my patient contact was near zero. This was a far cry from what I was used to while working at the MRI facility. I knew it was going to be different when I switched jobs, I just did not realize how much it would affect me. It helped that I was on the Christian Service comity, we were in charge of all the volunteer work for our department. It just wasn’t enough for me though. And the actual work I was doing in no way fulfilled me.

Todd and I watched The Blindside together last night. I love that movie because it is based on an amazing true story. There are certain parts that always make me choke up no matter how many times I watch it. Todd had never seen it before so I am glad we watched together because it helped him understand why I am the way I am sometimes when I get on a crusade about something. For example, 2 weeks ago we were browsing the local animal shelters online databases as we plan to get a dog at some point once we move into our house. We weren’t seriously looking by any means but that all changed when I saw Johnny. Johnny is a younger red boned coonhound that has only three legs. His story explained that he was found roaming around a construction site miles away from any residential area. When he was found one of his back legs was severely mangled and had to be amputated. I was sold on him immediately! If I had it my way I would have gone down there and adopted him that moment. My opinion on the matter and Todd’s were completely polarized, however. He was in no way interested in owning a three-legged dog. I was incensed. I felt he was being discriminatory and tried to plead my case. We would be the perfect home for Johnny. Todd and I both have a soft spot for animals, we will have this great backyard, we will be right next to this beautiful open field where Johnny could run and play PLUS I was absolutely convinced there was not another human being that could love this dog as much as I could. I eventually convinced Todd to agree to go with me to meet Johnny in August after we return from Lollapalooza in Chicago, assuming of course that Johnny had not already been adopted. Since that time I learned that Johnny has been adopted and will be trained to be a therapy dog for VETs with amputated limbs. Although I was a little disappointed that I would not get to love and take care of Johnny I was overjoyed to hear what his future holds and feel that is a more than acceptable alternative.

Todd and I talked after the movie last night and he told me that he was able to better understand my feelings about Johnny after watching what this family did. I absolutely think that if Johnny had not already been adopted that Todd would now be on board with adopting him. Just because a person or an animal is different in some way does not mean that they are any less deserving of love.

I watch movies or documentaries like this and hear stories in the news about people who are able to give so much of themselves for the greater good of someone else or society in general and I always think, “God will I ever be able to make such an impact”.  I look at this story and feel like anything I have been able to do up to this point is just small potatoes. I feel like I am meant for more, that I have a greater purpose that hasn’t been revealed yet. I just don’t want my life to be all about me, I want it to mean more.

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