The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer

The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer

From A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Impossible Just Takes
a Little Longer

I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible.

Henry Ford

At the age of 20, I was happier than I had ever been before in my life. I was active physically: I was a competitive water-skier and snow-skier, and played golf, tennis, racquetball, basketball and volleyball. I even bowled on a league. I ran nearly every day. I had just started a new tennis court construction company, so my financial future looked exciting and bright. I was engaged to the most beautiful woman in the world. Then the tragedy occurred—or at least some called it that:

I awoke with a sudden jolt to the sound of twisting metal and breaking glass. As quickly as it all started, it was quiet again. Opening my eyes, my whole world was darkness. As my senses began to return, I could feel the warmth of blood covering my face. Then the pain. It was excruciating and overwhelming. I could hear voices calling my name as I slipped away again into unconsciousness.

Leaving my family in California on a beautiful Christmas evening, I had headed for Utah with a friend of mine. I was going there to spend the rest of the holidays with my fiancée, Dallas. We were to finish our upcoming wedding plans—our marriage was to be in five short weeks. I drove for the first eight hours of the trip, then, being somewhat tired and my friend having rested during that time, I climbed from the driver’s seat into the passenger seat. I fastened my seat belt, and my friend drove away into the dark. After driving for another hour and a half, he fell asleep at the wheel. The car hit a cement abutment, went up and over the top of it, and rolled down the side of the road a number of times.

When the car finally came to a stop, I was gone. I had been ejected from the vehicle and had broken my neck on the desert floor. I was paralyzed from the chest down. Once I was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, the doctor announced that I was now a quadriplegic. I lost the use of my feet and legs. I lost the use of my stomach muscles and two out of my three major chest muscles. I lost the use of my right triceps. I lost most of the use and strength in my shoulders and arms. And I lost the complete use of my hands.

This is where my new life began.

The doctors said I would have to dream new dreams and think new thoughts. They said because of my new physical condition, I would never work again—I was pretty excited about that one, though, because only 93 percent of those in my condition don’t work. They told me that I would never drive again; that for the rest of my life I would be completely dependent on others to eat, get dressed or even to get from place to place. They said that I should never expect to get married because . . . who would want me? They concluded that I would never again play in any kind of athletic sport or competitive activity. For the first time in my young life, I was really afraid. I was afraid that what they said might really be true.

While lying in that hospital bed in Las Vegas, I wondered where all my hopes and dreams had gone. I wondered if I would ever be made whole again. I wondered if I would work, get married, have a family and enjoy any of the activities of life that had previously brought me such joy.

During this critical time of natural doubts and fears, when my whole world seemed so dark, my mother came to my bedside and whispered in my ear, “Art, while the difficult takes time . . . the impossible just takes a little longer.” Suddenly a once darkened room began to fill with the light of hope and faith that tomorrow would be better.

Since hearing those words 11 years ago, I am now president of my own company. I am a professional speaker and a published author—Some Miracles Take Time. I travel more than 200,000 miles a year sharing the message of The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer™ to Fortune 500 companies, national associations, sales organizations and youth groups, with some audiences exceeding 10,000 people. In 1992, I was named the Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Small Business Administration for a six-state region. In 1994, Success magazine honored me as one of the Great Comebacks of the Year. These are dreams that have come true for me in my life. These dreams came true not in spite of my circumstances . . . but, perhaps, because of them.

Since that day I have learned to drive. I go where I want to go and I do what I want to do. I am completely independent and I take care of myself. Since that day, I have had feeling return to my body and have gained back some of the use and function
of my right triceps.

I got married to that same beautiful and wonderful girl a year and a half after that fateful day. In 1992, Dallas, my wife, was named Mrs. Utah and was third runner-up to Mrs. USA! We have two children—a three-year-old daughter named McKenzie Raeanne and a one-month-old son named Dalton Arthur—the joys of our lives.

I have also returned to the world of sports. I have learned to swim, scuba dive and parasail—as far as I know I am the first quadriplegic of record to parasail. I have learned to snow ski. I have also learned to play full-contact rugby. I figure they can’t hurt me any worse! I also race wheelchairs in 10Ks and marathons. On July 10, 1993, I became the first quadriplegic in the world to race 32 miles in seven days between Salt Lake City and St. George, Utah—probably not one of the brightest things I have ever done, but certainly one of the most difficult.

Why have I done all of these things? Because a long time ago I chose to listen to the voice of my mother and to my heart rather than to the concourse of dissenting voices around me, which included medical professionals. I decided that my current circumstances did not mean I had to let go of my dreams. I found a reason to hope again. I learned that dreams are never destroyed by circumstances; dreams are born in the heart and mind, and only there can they ever die. Because while the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.

Art E. Berg

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