Broken Dreams or Shifting Tides?

Human life cannot be broken. To be broken is death. Life is like water...it takes the shape of the container it is in, it moves as fast as the wind blows, and it cannot break. At times, people who live with chronic physical illness can feel as if the illness has broken them and their dreams; but they are not broken but rather altered. Life goes on and so can the dreams.

Being diagnosed with a chronic physical illness can cast doubt on one's ability to carry out his/her goals and make his/her dreams a reality. This feeling of insecurity can be experienced by people who are born with chronic physical illness as well when they are treated by loved ones as less able or are excessively coddled. Sometimes people may say things like, "maybe you should consider striving for something less challenging" or "I just don't want you to be disappointed." If we think about it, disappointment can happen to anyone, illness-free or not. An illness-free person with no rhythm may dream of being a professional dancer...maybe that person should dream of something less challenging as well. Does that mean people should stop striving; should stop enjoying the things that make them happy in life? There are millions of illness-free people around the world who are discouraged daily. These people decide for themselves when to change dream paths, and people who live with chronic physical illness should be allowed this same basic right.

You are not broken and neither are your dreams. Be like the water and adjust to what the environment has given you--what your body has dealt you. For example, you always wanted to be an athlete but now you have physical limitations. How can you work around it? Yes realistically it may be very difficult but that does not mean impossible. How badly to you want the dream? How much are you willing to try to adjust for it? Natalie Du Toit's dream was to be an Olympic Swimmer. Natalie's left leg was amputated after a car accident. Natalie IS a 10K Olympic Swimmer! Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark. She thought her dream to become a professional competitive surfer were broken. Bethany IS a competitive professional surfer. Thousands of cancer survivors, lupus survivors, multiple sclerosis survivors, stroke survivors, heart attack survivors, kidney disease survivors, and other illness survivors live their dreams everyday because people are like the water whose tides shift with the changes in the environment. People are that resilient...not broken.

You have to decide for yourself when stiving for a particular dream is no longer worth it to you or too uncomfortable given your specific physical condition. Like the water, sometimes you may want to go upstream but if the current pushes you down stream you need to surrender to it. You get to decide for how long you want to push upstream against the current. You get to decide if there are little streams that branch out from the mainstream that you always lived on that could serve as alternative ways of living your dream. There is a direction to go in. You will never be just like a rock stuck with all the water surrounding and living around you. Remember that you are like the water--alive and never broken.