The young man limped ahead of me as he made his way to the kinesis room at the gym. He was dragging his left foot. His left arm was crooked and did not swing naturally. He looked far too young to have suffered a stroke but his left hand was stiff and curled inwards at the wrist. I wondered what cataclysmic event had intersected this young man's life. Ultimately curiosity overcame my fear of impropriety, and through halting breaths while doing crunches on the exercise mat near him, I asked what happened.
I acknowledge that every brick wall is different, as is everyone of us who hits one. Some of these devastating events result in seemingly total destruction, while others inexplicably barely leave a dent. Some folks respond to the damage done with resignation and defeat, while others simply dig deeper and press on.
In examining my own brick wall of PD, I have discovered a few things about myself. Not all of of them are flattering, but I have realized one seeming certainty: I cling to the positive. I cannot take the credit for that, as it must have been my parents and those who influenced me in my younger years. I confess I sometimes feel like the boy who, when shown a large pile of horse manure, excitedly shouted, "Where is my pony?"
I was touched and encouraged by author Randy Pausch who, though now dead, seems to reflect the same approach to life. He says in his book, "The Last Lecture", "Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something." At first I found myself pondering what this meant to him, given that he was dying of pancreatic cancer at the time, leaving behind a wife and young family.