A body that learned to live
I was once the criminal, the culprit to myself; a body with out meaning, a thought with out care; a figure just floating through life, wishing it was anything, but what it was. Thankful? But for what? I had two legs, but they complained to walk and never dared to run. I had a mouth that was forced to not eat all and seldom shut as my brain came up with new ideas that it wanted to let out. I had lungs to breathe in air, but so did every living person. Grateful? Why should I have been? I was born just the same as anyone else.
Looking back at how I once felt, I feel ashamed, selfish, and ignorant. To think health was not something to be thankful for, take pride in, and cherish while the rarity of it was yours, is beyond foolish, but is also a common thought that scurries through the minds of all.
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However, these thoughts vanished from my body, as tears poured gathered around my eyes my junior year of high school; I had decided to begin volunteering at Special Strides.
Special Strides is a non-profit organization that locally helps children with autism, cerebral palsy, and other challenging diseases through therapy by horses. Children of all ages and sizes come to Special Strides to receive therapy that doesn’t make them cringe, but makes them laugh and smile instead. I began volunteering because I wanted to help children, yet I truly believe it was the children who saved me.
The boy I’ll never forget is Michael. Michael is three years old, yet words cant leave his mouth, food cant enter it, and air struggles to find it’s way through it and into his lungs. His body doesn’t move the way he wants it to and according to doctors, he should not still be alive. Michael, a boy depraved of common speech, the ability to walk or play ball, the knowledge of his future, and the simplest taste of food finds happiness in the world and his life. He constantly smiles, and if he could talk, I know he’d be thankful for everything he has even though it’s a lot less than most people. Michael brings tears to my eyes every time I see him and his smile. I like to believe I helped make his days easier, his nights better, but in the end. It was Michael who changed me. Because of him I love life and no longer take it or the little things that encompass it for granted. It’s immaculate to say that a little boy taught me the lesson that remolded my view of life, but I truly owe it to him.
Michael is not the only boy who saved me; after volunteering at Special Strides for more than a year, I can honestly say that my new output, morals, and values are all stolen pieces from children; children who were born with permanent obstacles in their life, but love every minute of it. My legs no longer argue, yet they take each step with a sense of appreciation; my mouth no longer shuns the common taste of food, yet it savors every bite; my mind no longer allows itself to be fenced in, yet it expresses itself constantly; my lungs, they still breath, but not because they have to because I take pride in them doing so. By living life ungratefully the way I was, I was letting down children like Michael; I now not only live life for myself, I live it for those who wont be able to, for those who will not grow old. Volunteering has sculptured my life from the block of clay it once was and into a beautifully loving statue that will not stop shining for anything; I continue to volunteer at Special Strides now, not because I need the children’s help, but because I want to help their lives; I want to give them back the gift of life that they gave me; if anyone deserves the miracle of life, it is them.