I’m Glad I Stuck Around

By: Matthew Walden

I thought my life was over. In the span of 3 short years I experienced the complete deterioration of my physical health, the death of a friend, my 30th birthday party getting rained out with no one showing up, and a botched and painful surgery I woke up in the middle of. There’s more. I witnessed a tsunami wipe out a trip I’d looked forward to my whole life. I also got brainwashed by a cult, I survived a random mass shooting massacre that made the national news, and then I was nearly killed by a drunk driver who slammed into me with an SUV and drove away, leaving me for dead in the middle of the road.

To top it off, the medications I was prescribed to deal with all the new trauma in my life didn’t agree with my brain chemistry, making me manic and suicidal. I emotionally hurt the person closest to me with my actions as a result, and when I got off the medication, I was devastated when I clearly looked at the complete wreckage of my life.
Just writing this now, it seems preposterous that all of this could have happened to me at the same time. My situation felt hopeless, and my brain just wasn’t strong enough to cope with all of these hardships. Truthfully, I don’t know who else could have either.
I tell you all this not to depress you, or reaffirm your feelings of hopelessness in the world. I tell you all this because it’s one year after the passing of the greatest storm in my life, and right now I actually feel happy and hopeful.
The people who I hurt in the middle of my emotional distress have forgiven and accepted me. Some of the people who hurt me, including the drunk driver who sent me to a year of doctor appointments , physical therapy and surgery, have personally apologized. My expensive medical bills have been paid for. Everything that looked bleak and insurmountable in my life has been surmounted. My awful luck swung in the opposite direction finally, and I’m so glad I stuck around to see what would happen. There were many days I almost chose not to.
I can’t give you any sage advice on how to get through the awfulness life sometimes throws at us. It can be unrelenting, and everyone needs to find his or her own sources of strength to get through it. Sometimes those sources of strength may fail you, and you’ll be left scrambling for a way to survive. That really sucks. But please keep scrambling.
I failed to predict the possibility of life becoming great. It makes sense I couldn’t see a good future for myself. I didn’t have a lot of good examples to convince me otherwise when everything was falling apart. But opportunities I couldn’t have imagined eventually presented themselves to me. Situations that looked gridlocked in defeat got fixed when aspects I couldn’t know about swooped in to save the day. I simply didn’t have enough information to accurately assess the hopelessness of my situation. It wasn’t as hopeless as it all felt.
Just as life can be randomly cruel, it can in equal measure be randomly kind, and meaningful and achingly transcendent. I’d hate for you to miss out on everything wonderful on the other side. There’s no point to your current pain. It is quite probably random and not your fault. But there is definitely a point to surviving and finding help, in whatever form you can get it, until the winds of fate deliver you to the other side.