It is only through pain that we truly understand and appreciate how blessed we are. Of course, we can be grateful for what we have without going through hard times, but we are infinitely more grateful after we have endured hard times. A cancer survivor has a deeper appreciation for his/her health and life in general than someone who hasn’t gone through that. The depth of our suffering determines the depth of our gratitude and happiness.
I had an interesting experience last night. It was a normal night at my bachelor pad; I fell asleep with the light on watching the King of Queens in bed… It gets cray cray at my place, let me tell you! After sometime I woke up and realized that I had fallen asleep. I went to get up to go turn off the light but nothing happened. I could see the ceiling and some things around me but I was completely paralyzed. Immediately hundreds of thoughts ran through my mind. ” Ok Braden, breathe. WHAT IS WRONG?! Why can’t I move? If this is permanent, someone is bound to think I’m missing and come help me. There’s no way this is for real… BUT IT IS!! Just breathe and relax. Maybe if you rest for a second and then try again you can move. Don’t panic.”
All these thoughts raced through my head in the span of only a few seconds. I closed my eyes to try and relax and gather all my energy to try again. After 30 seconds or so I opened my eyes again and tried with all my strength to lift my head. The harder I tried the louder a deafening ring consumed my hearing. No movement. I was still completely unable to move any part of my body. A horrible fear came over me. I was legitimately scared. All I could do was try and calm myself because I had no other choice. Someone at work would notice I was gone. Someone would have to come looking. It was then that I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep again.
Again I awoke in the same position. This time I lifted my head and moved every part of my body to make sure it was real. I got up to turn the light off, knelt to give a silent prayer of gratitude, and went back to sleep. I had never known what it was like to be physically paralyzed. You always kinda imagine things like that and how it would be, but experiencing it was a humbling experience.
Thinking back on it now, it was probably just a dream. I say probably because it felt so real. I still feel nervous about falling asleep, afraid that it might happen again. All day I have been trying to make sense of it and if there was some meaning behind it. The following is what I believe I needed to learn from this experience:
Always be moving.
In life, we have to keep moving. We cannot stop. We cannot coast. We cannot lull ourselves into spiritual paralysis. Life is to be lived and enjoyed and the only way that happens is if we progress. A man who never tries, will never know joy. We have this time where we are alive to become our best self. What is more, we have a Savior who has given us the ability to reach that mark. I have a deeper gratitude for Him and His sacrifice. What a tragedy it would be to never even try, to let fear and doubt paralyze us from progressing, learning, and growing. This experience has opened my eyes a bit more. I have a renewed motivation to keep pushing, to find the good in everything, and live up to my full potential. I also feel a deeper respect for those people who are actually physically paralyzed and still live a full life. They may be physically paralyzed but they don’t let fear and doubt paralyze their spirits. That’s what life is all about and they have it figured out.
Life is good, guys. It’s just one experience after another. Good or bad, there is something to be learned from each one.