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    Love Brings Meaning to Life
    Reprinted with Permission: Women�s News Journal, January 2000

    We cannot do it alone. Even the strongest of survivors has to have help. Help may be in the form of a person or the thought of that person. For every brave deed or courageous act, there is another person somewhere in our lives.

    We act out of love. Much of what is accomplished is done because of our love for someone else. Love becomes a driving force within us. So strong is this force that many have been known to find the meaning of life from it.

    As I examined the meaning for my life after a paralyzing life-changing challenge, I realized the tremendous loss that would be felt by my family if I were gone. I love them too much to let that happen. Life is for living and for loving. I knew that I had to regain whatever function I could and live life as completely as was physically possible. My misfortune could have very easily ended my life. I was happy to have a second chance.

    As I live each day, I focus on a hopeful future, not on self pity. I learned this lesson after realizing what a trap self pity can be. There is no sense dwelling on our losses. This only brings us sadness and despair. Our thoughts control our emotions. It is healthier to focus on making a comeback, rather than taking inventory of the functions we have lost and the physical and emotional pain we feel inside.

    I must credit the deep love that my husband, Mark Leder, and I have for each other for much of the progress I have made while recovering from my paralyzing injuries. Marrying Mark was the most important decision I have made in my lifetime.

    He is a strong supporter, caretaker and friend, who gives love unconditionally. I doubt that he ever thought, while we were dating, that a tragedy as bad as the one we have been through could happen to us. Nothing prepares you for this. Love needs to be deep seated no matter what the outcome of life�s events.

    When life takes a turn and brings you insurmountable challenges, you will need to pull from within to motivate yourself to action. No one cares as much about your future as you. Your inner strength is what will get your through. Tenacity and determination are keys to resiliency. Love will fuel the energy fires within you. Take note of those around you that love you and want to help you to recover.

    Another thing that I learned through this past year and a half of recovery is that I have a huge support network. Family are the obvious part of the equation to recovery. Friends, neighbors, acquaintances and perfect strangers also enter in.

    Yes, perfect strangers. Those strangers that sent me get well cards after reading about my injury in the newspaper. Those kind hearted people who see me about to enter a doorway in my wheelchair and offer to hold the door open. That woman in the parking lot who saw my expression when I realized a car had parked too close to my van to allow me access to get onto my ramp. They have all shared their love.

    As you are challenged by adversity and setbacks, look around. People are all around you will help you if you just ask. People want to help. Let the loving actions of others propel you to greater gains.

    As you begin to recover from your misfortune, you will become aware of others worse off than you. There will come a time when you will be able to reach out to help others. Then, you will realize true joy, having made a difference in other people�s lives. When we give of ourselves and offer our love to others, somehow it makes us feel better too.

    � Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

    Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a speaker and writer. To book her to speak at a conference, or to subscribe to her free monthly inspirational column, go to: Rosemarie Speaks

    Rosemarie conducts presentations that bring out the best in people, to help them achieve goals, and take charge of their lives. Rosemarie helps her audiences discover their inner strength. Her core message is focused on sharing information, strategies, and life lessons that provide the tools to LIVE LIFE WITH CONVICTION.

    She is the author of "Take Back Your Life!" and is Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2004.

    Rosemarie would like to receive your comments about the impact her article has made on your life. Write her at: Rosemarie@RosemarieSpeaks.com