Why Do These Things Have to Happen?

Why Do These Things Have to Happen?

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Why Do These Things Have to Happen?

We are all pencils in the hand of God.

Mother Teresa

One of my joys and passions is my voice. I love to perform in our local community theaters. My throat became very sore during a particularly grueling show run. It was my first time performing an operatic piece, and I was terrified I had actually done damage to my vocal cords. I was a lead and we were about to open. So I made an appointment with my family doctor where I waited for an hour. I finally left in a huff, went back to work, grabbed a phone book and found a throat specialist close by. Once more I made an appointment and off I went.

The nurse showed me in and I sat down to wait for the doctor. I was feeling very disgruntled. I rarely get sick and here I was sick when I needed to be healthy. Besides, I had to take time out of my workday to go to two different doctors, both of whom kept me waiting. It was very frustrating. Why do these things have to happen? A moment later the nurse came back in and said, “May I ask you something personal?”

This seemed odd; what else do they ask you but personal questions in a doctor’s office? But I looked at the nurse and replied, “Yes, of course.”

“I noticed your hand,” she said a bit hesitantly.

I lost half of my left hand in a forklift accident when I was 11. I think it is one of the reasons I didn’t follow my dream of performing in theater, although everyone says, “Gee, I never noticed! You are so natural.” In the back of my mind I thought that they only wanted to see perfect people on stage. No one would want to see me. Besides, I’m too tall, overweight, not really talented . . . no, they don’t want to see me. But I love musical comedies and I do have a good voice. So one day I tried out at our local community theater. I was the first one they cast! That was three years ago. Since then, I have been cast in almost everything I tried out for.

The nurse continued, “What I need to know is how it has affected your life.”

Never in the 25 years since it happened has someone asked me this. Maybe they’ll say, “Does it bother you?” but never anything as sweeping as, “How has it affected your life?”

After an awkward pause, she said, “You see I just had a baby, and her hand is like yours. I, well, I need to know how it has affected your life.”

“How has it affected my life?” I thought about it a bit so I could think of the right words to say. Finally, I said, “It has affected my life, but not in a bad way—I do many things that people with two normal hands find difficult. I type about 75 words a minute, I play guitar, I have ridden and shown horses for years, I even have a Horsemaster Degree. I’m involved in musical theater and I am a professional speaker, I’m constantly in front of a crowd. I do television shows four or five times a year. I think it was never ‘difficult’ because of the love and encouragement of my family. They always talked about all the great notoriety I would get because I would learn how to do things with one hand that most people had trouble doing with two. We were all very excited about that. That was the main focus, not the handicap.

“Your daughter does not have a problem. She is normal. You are the one who will teach her to think of herself as anything else. She will come to know she is ‘different,’ but you will teach her that different is wonderful. Normal means you are average. What’s fun about that?”

She was silent for a while. Then she simply said, “Thank you” and walked out.

I sat there thinking, “Why do these things have to happen?” Everything happens for a reason—even that forklift falling on my hand. All the circumstances leading up to me being at this doctor’s office and this moment in time happened for a reason.

The doctor came in, looked at my throat and said he wanted to anesthetize and put a probe down it to examine it. Well, singers are very paranoid about putting medical instruments down their throats, especially ones so rough they need to be anesthetized! I said, “No thanks,” and walked out.

The next day, my throat was completely better.

Why do these things have to happen?

Lilly Walters

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