This I Believe

Katharine - Boulder, Colorado
Entered on August 7, 2007

I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe even painful experiences can teach me something and indirectly give me a better tomorrow. I believe by recognizing the value of both good and bad I am given twice as many opportunities for personal growth.

Two years ago I was in a freak accident which seemed to make no sense. I was standing under my kitchen window which hung horizontally from the ceiling above me, until the hook holding it up broke. The window’s bottom two panes of glass, and the wooden frame separating them, shattered across my head as it attempted to swing closed. The force of the blow to my head—from the weight of the window plus the momentum it gained falling from the ceiling–caused a mild traumatic brain injury: brain trauma without permanent damage.

I remember feeling like I was lost in a dense gray fog that made everything I heard, saw, or felt seem distant and unclear. This feeling illustrates some of the limitations to my functioning after the accident: I couldn’t keep a conversation going, or use sharp objects, or walk down my own stairs without falling to the bottom, and I could definitely not drive. I withdrew from school to spend a year relearning how to think and speak. Slowly the fog began to lift as my brain began to heal itself naturally, a process supported by the work I did to expedite my return to school. My recovery involved visits to a speech pathologist and neuro-feedback. I have now made a full recovery and feel fortunate that my life has not been totally ruined by this incident.

I believe I was in this accident for a reason. I appreciate my ability to learn and think more than I ever did before my injury. Today, I see my education as an amazing opportunity, instead of thinking of school as something I am doing to appease my family. I make an effort to take advantage of my classes now; I go to office hours for my professors, do assigned reading, and consistently attend lectures. These may sound like simple things, but I did not see their value before I lost the ability to do them.

I don’t need to know why everything happens to find peace from my belief that everything happens for a reason. I believe the less I question something the easier it is to accept. I do not have control over the world around me, and by acknowledging this lack of power I am free to make the best of whatever life throws at me. This I believe.