Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for February, 2017

GOD IS GOOD

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team bus accident (referred to as simply, “the accident”), I am hoping to share 25 Things I Have Learned In 25 Years. The goal is to post once a week; but since I have a year to post, I will consider once every two weeks a win.

God Is Good

This seems simple enough, but it actually took me a while to figure out. I remember being in the hospital and hearing my mom say, “If God only gives you what you can handle, I want to be weak, because I can’t handle this.” Those probably weren’t her exact words, but I think she was tired of hearing this sentiment.

I also remember receiving a letter from my aunt shortly after I first moved my toes. Again, I won’t get the wording exactly right, but it read something along the lines of how lucky I was to feel God’s love in such a powerful way, at such a young age. Lying in a hospital bed after two back surgeries, wearing a bulky body brace and not yet able to walk, I didn’t feel very lucky. But my aunt was (is) a woman with a very deep faith, and I know her intentions were genuine, even if I didn’t believe her words to be true. At least not back then.

But I have learned how right she was. God is Good, even when life is bad. In fact, that’s when we need our faith the most. I just didn’t have a strong enough faith 25 years ago to see and feel the wisdom in my aunt’s words.

A quick internet search defines faith as a “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” Most people of faith believe in a greater being (God or otherwise named) of which they have no proof actually exists. And yet, my healing – my toes moving – is about as close to proof as one can receive.

My aunt was right: I felt God’s love in a powerful way at a young age…so young (in years and in my faith journey) that I didn’t even know it. Thank goodness I have the wisdom of time (and age) over the past 25 years to learn.

Happy Birthday Aunt Nancy.

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  • IT NEVER GOES AWAY

    In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team bus accident (referred to as simply, “the accident”), I am hoping to share 25 Things I Have Learned In 25 Years. The goal is to post once a week; but since I have a year to post, I will consider once every two weeks a win.

    It never goes away.

    I think I knew this in 1992. There were certainly many people who told me, “This will change your life forever,” or “Your life is forever changed.” And I am very aware of the day-to-day physical challenges I live with. But for some reason, the 25th anniversary marked a renewed understanding of the on-going presence the accident would have in my life forever. Forever. Forever is a long time when you are 18; it’s also (I hope) a long time when you are 43.

    But it goes beyond the predictable ways in which it never goes away: I am aware of my back and its limitations; I subconsciously keep an eye on where I place my feet when I walk; I am cognizant of every bus I see and the buses my children ride on field trips; I feel the anguish of a family or a team in the news who has suffered a tragic loss. I expect those feelings and those events to spur my emotions. It is the unknown events in my future that remind me that it never goes away.

    Over the past five years, between the 20th anniversary of the accident and the 25th anniversary of the accident, I have discovered “new ways” in which the events of January 24, 1992, will continue to affect my life. So much of it is positive, the gratitude I find in simple moments and the blessings I choose to see; but there are also new challenges as my body ages (don’t we all have these??); they come with the gift of getting older.

    I think the main thing I have learned is that it’s okay for it to not go away. While we never want to dwell in the past, we also will never “get over it.” But it’s okay to still feel the hurt, because it allows us also to feel such deep joy and gratitude for the blessings we have found along the way.

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