Nothing left is what people feel after having their homes flooded or their hearts attacked by devastating news. Morris Goodman can related to losses. On March 10, 1981, his airplane crashed; as a result his body parts were inoperable. His neck was broken, his spinal cord, jaw and larynx crushed. He was unable to swallow or talk. His bladder, liver and kidneys were nonfunctioning. The anticipated outcome, if he continued to live, was that he would never breathe on his own. He did a mental inventory; over what did he have control?
What he discovered is that he COULD blink his eyes, once for yes and twice for no. A man who moments before his crash is reputed to have been the top insurance salesman in the world from the epitome of success had soared to the depths of silence. He decided to work with the respirator, taking in 100 painful, energy depleting breaths; rest a few minutes; work his way to 200 breaths then 300 breaths until his lungs expanded on their own. He was breathing 10 percent and the respirator 90 percent until he was able to increase from 20 percent on up. This medical miracle, was the beginning of his milestones. The first miracle is that he survived the crash at all.
Nine months after the crash, Morris Goodman was not only was breathing on his own, but he also walked out of the hospital. Despite his bleak prognosis, Goodman set goals within himself. Though he could not communicate them with others, he challenged himself to surpass his goals. Goodman, simply and profoundly decided to concentrate on the short list of what he could do. I like how he phrases his thought process, “I discovered that I still had my mind, and when you have your mind, you can do anything.” He decided that he was walking out of that hospital on his own, and he did.
This Thanksgiving may we do an inventory—not of deficits or grievances but a celebratory list of challenges overcome, goals accomplished and life.